Notes & Reviews:
Beethoven thought the libretto immoral, Wagner thought it trivial. It was Herbert von Karajan's mentor and inspiration, the composer and conductor Richard Strauss, who brought Mozart's Cosi fan tutte back centre stage in the early years of the 20th century, since when this exquisite, witty and subtly disturbing exploration of sexual politics has become one of Mozart's best-loved works. The present set preserves one of its most admired recordings, originally released in the autumn of 1955 on the eve of the bicentenary of Mozart's birth. Gramophone described it as a 'superlative issue', perfectly staged for the microphone with an ideal cast and conducting and playing of the finest quality. 'Listening with friends in my music room', wrote the critic Alec Robertson, 'gave the impression that by some miracle the opera was being performed there to a scale proportionate to its size, enabling us to savor the exquisite music, without any of the usual distractions.' The review concluded, 'Whatever good things the Mozart celebrations bring us next year, I cannot think that this superb performance and recording will be surpassed.' Sixty years on, it remains an acknowledged classic of the gramophone.