CDs / DVDs

Fanfare Magazin, 01. September 2008
Fanfare Magazine, 2008

This highly detailed and informative DVD about Mozart’s most spectacular symphony is a real must. The makers have succeeded in extracting the most important issues on this symphony into a comprehensive, detailed, and yet brief documentary. Haenchen leads the public in an understandable way through a symphony that belongs among the most fascinating works Mozart ever wrote. Each movement is explained in such way that it remains comprehensible for the uninitiated, but also keeps the attention of those who know the symphony inside out.
Every explanation of the score is illustrated with a musical example, taken from a live concert with the C. P. E. Bach Chamber Orchestra in November 2005 at the Konzerthaus in Berlin. It’s a very enjoyable performance, and although it doesn’t rank with the very best available, it’s still a significant rendering. The homogeneously soft and enchanting string sound is especially enjoyable. The woodwinds produce a unified color that is captured well by the recording engineers.
Haenchen proves once more that he’s a reliable, intelligent, and true musician. His tempos are never extreme, but they’re never boring, either. After listening to both Haenchen’s documentary and performance of the work, I was amazed at his research and craftsmanship. Haenchen is truly a musician who deserves more recognition as a great conductor.
Which recording to choose as a reference is a really tough job—the choices are innumerable. Colin Davis’s recordings of Mozart’s last symphonies on Philips remain the best choices for me; sheer musicianship combined with a gorgeous orchestral sound and superb engineering make that a great recording. There are also the transparent performances of Trevor Pinnock with The English Concert, or Neville Marriner’s on Philips or EMI with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Whether you’re a beginner to the world of Mozart’s genius or not, this DVD offers helpful information, illustrated by one of Europe’s finest musicians.
Bart Verhaeghe