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Mozart: The Last Symphonies, nos. 39-41 'Mozart's Instrumental Oratorium' / Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien

Album Summary

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 39 in E flat major, K 543
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter"
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

On The Last Symphonies, Nikolaus Harnoncourt explores his fascinating new interpretation of the composer's last three symphonies; that they are one whole work which he calls Mozart's "Instrumental Oratorium." Harnoncourt argues that, in terms of structure, the first movement of Symphony No. 39 is the Prelude of the "Instrumental Oratorium," while the last movement of Symphony No. 41 is the Finale. He points out that Symphony No. 39 has no real ending, while Symphony No. 40 has no real beginning, and only Symphony No. 41 has a finale.

Harnoncourt points to a number of factors as further proof of his new interpretation - musical themes that are evident throughout all three symphonies, the fact that Mozart wrote these works without commission all in one summer, and that he didn't write any more symphonies in the last three years of his life - this was his last statement. The Last Symphonies: Mozart's Instrumental Oratorium was recorded for the first time with Harnoncourt's own ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien, which he founded in 1953.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin in 1929 and grew up in Graz, Austria. He has performed and recorded Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms together with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has received numerous international awards for his work. There are nearly 500 recordings in his discography, which have been awarded all the major international Classical prizes, including a Grammy Award® in 2002 for his recording of the St. Matthew Passion.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2014
Notwithstanding Harnoncourt's idiosyncrasies, this is a singularly compelling journey through some of the finest symphonies of the era, less mannered than his 1980s recordings with the Concertgebouw.

MusicWeb International, 20th October 2014
Harnoncourt is quite the provocateur here, start to finish. His Concentus Musicus Wien is a longstanding, well-known period instrument ensemble, but if we're being honest, it rather resembles the anti-period-performance critics' caricatures of the movement...Maybe we should be blaming the engineers for Harnoncourt's piercing trumpets, backseat winds and slightly blurry violins. Double basses, however, are a welcome and loud presence throughout.

The Guardian, 23rd July 2014
Harnoncourt is convinced that Mozart intended the three symphonies, famously composed in just two months in the summer of 1788, as a unity...The recordings, thrillingly well played by Concentus Musicus, put these ideas to the test...Whatever you think of the performances and the theories behind them, they are never ever dull.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Musikverein, Vienna (10/12/2013-10/14/2013).



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Works Details

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 39 in E flat major, K 543
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Ensemble: Concentus Musicus Wien
  • Notes: Musikverein, Vienna (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1788

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Notes: Musikverein, Vienna (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1788

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 41 in C major, K 551 "Jupiter"
  • Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  • Notes: Musikverein, Vienna (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 38 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1788