I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Mozart: Symphony #40

The Portuguese ensemble Divino Sospiro under the direction Enrico Onofri have recorded two works by Mozart: Symphony #40 in G minor, and the Serenata Notturna in D. Their recording is from a live performance. While there isn't a lot of audience noise, there is noise from the conductor on many occasions (breathing). I came to buy this CD after listening/watching to several videos on You Tube featuring interviews with Onofri on this repertoire. This is certainly an interesting interpretation of Mozart, of course the highlight being K. 550. It's also interesting as an introduction for many people to this baroque orchestra and Onofri as conductor (with a baton). To fatten the ensemble, he's got some chums from Il Giardino Armonico in the house. The unusual approach, perhaps, is in the interpretative gestures that are not found on the surface of the score. Any conductor is likely to suggest that their interpretive decisions come from deeper place in the score, if not other information not contained within (composer biography, political events, etc.). DS sound like a band. The recording space doesn't help their sound (and neither does the acoustic captured from the concert). I guess I'd call a band a rowdy group of instrumentalists, an orchestra a fine-tuned, deluxe version. This is not a subjective value judgement per se; I like many ensembles that are "bands" as opposed to "orchestras." Onfori's pace on the first movement of the symphony isn't too fast, neither is his second. When you get towards the end of mvt. II, the band sound, with these "outbursts" that almost shock. I find these refreshing. These are the types of things you go to a live performance to hear. In movements III-IV, Onofri leads the ensemble at a "faster than typical" tempo, each full of energy and bite. As familiar as this symphony is, you're likely to hear "new" things, simply because Onofri has chosen to exaggerate here, or emphasize there. The second work is a concertino/concerto type suite, written as a march, a minuet, and a rondo. Odd in this one is the stereo juxtaposition of the recording: almost all of the music is on the left speaker. In the video, the soloists are grouped on the left. As with the symphony, I had wished the levels were higher (for the mastering of the CD). Otherwise excellent playing in the Serenata would have been improved with a better recording. The feeling and gestures inherent in the music are played out here, ripe with what me might call Mozart's humor and panache.

Bach Kantaten BWV 12, 78, 150

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