Marlboro Fest 40th Anniversary- Mozart: Symphonies 35,40,41

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In a time where Mozart performances are dominated by an obsession with repeats, metronomic exactitude, precision of ensemble, and an approach that often combines slickness with impersonality, Casals might seem to have been a cellist forced to retire because of consistently faulty intonation and wavering technical control and who therefore turned exclusively to conducting when in his nineties (as he was when these recordings were made). He felt that if anyone wanted to hear what an eighteenth-century orchestra sounded like, the musicians need only play off-key—although he himself has been latterly criticized for occasionally ragged ensemble. Yet, for me, Casals was first and always a transcendent musician who loved music, who brought to Mozart the profound wealth of his own human experience, musical insight based on decades of visceral study, and a rare ability to communicate the richness and excitement he felt so deeply. His orchestra was totally responsive and committed. And what an orchestra!—with Jaime Laredo as concertmaster and Sergiu Luca as principal second in the "Haffner." Ever present is the shared joy of making music together. Casals's Mozart was, in the words of the producer of these recordings, Thomas Frost, "a fresh look at old masterpeices, unhampered by current trends, with a crisp spontaneity undulled by the routine of repeat performances." Casals's vision of Mozait exists outside the frenzies of fashion, an essential Mozart lyrical, compelling, transporting, with shadings in the darker passages mat intimate a depth which only music can express. There is here a reverence for these symphonies so often veiled from us today by scholarship which substitutes "authenticity" for inspiration, accuracy for conviction, exactitude for beauty, superficially impressive dynamics for an intense exuberance of the soul. As much as great interpreters of Mozart have given us, these performances provide this music with yet another dimension and one without which I shall never wish to be.

Jon Tuska, Fanfare [3/1992]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SONY47294

  • UPC: 074644729429

  • Label: Sony

  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Conductor: Pablo Casals

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Columbia Symphony Orchestra