source of this page is a thread in the message board in Classical Hub,
where performances of Mozart Concert Arias were discussed. To make things
more interesting, I took the Mozart Complete Edition, on Philips, and
took as parametre to my discussion. So, the singer referred to next
to the title of the song is always the one who performed it in the Philips
series, where the conductor generally is Leopold Hager, unless otherwise
indicated. This page is under construction and is going to be ocasionally
updated. Please note that the underlined titles are links to the comments
to the aria referred to. Also, under the comment of each individual
aria mentioned in the introdutory text there is a "back" link
to the introdutory text again - so that quick references may be possible.
to main orchestral songs and concert arias
The label "concert
aria" is actually too wide to explain all the items listed below,
but it has become the usual practice to call almost every Mozart aria
not generally appearing in one of his operas a "concert aria".
As a matter of fact, as Brigitte Toulon explains in her essay in the
Philips Complete Edition, in this group, we must acknowledge four kinds
of "concert arias": the arias really intended to be sung in
recital; the scenes (recitative + aria + aria, for example, such as
questo paterno amplesso, composed for the recital
in Count Firmians house in Milan in 1770) intended to be sung
in recital; the arias meant to be inserted in other composers
operas (such as Voi
avete un cor fedele, for Galuppis Le Nozze
di Norina, and Si
mostra la sorte, for Piccinis LAstratto);
and the alternative arias for his own operas (such as Non
temer, with violin obligatto, for the tenor Idamante
in Idomeneo), as shown below:
CONCERT ARIAS: 21/19, 23,
78/73B, Care le mie pene, 88/73c, 82/73o, 83/73p, 74b, 293e, 295, 440/383h;
119/382h; 383, 435/416b; 433/416c; 538; 552, 612, 245 Anh./621a
CONCERT SCENES: 79/73d;
36/331, 70/61d; 77/73e, 255, 272, 294, 486a/295a, 316/300b, 368, 369,
374, 416, 432.421a, 431/425b, 512, 528
INSERTION ARIAS: K 209 (
for Piccinis LAstratto); K210 (for Piccinis LAstratto),
K 217 (for Galuppis Le Nozze di Dorina); K 256 (for Piccinis
LAstratto); 178/417e (for Anfossis Il Curioso Indiscreto),
K 418 (for Anfossis Il Curioso Indisceto), 419 ( for Anfossis
Il Curioso Indiscreto); 420 (for Anfossis Il Curioso Indiscreto);
513 (for Paisiellos La disfatta di Dario); 541 (for Anfossis
Le Gelosie Fortunate); 578 (for Cimarosas I due baroni di Rocca
Azzurra); 580 (for Paisiellos Il Barbiere di Siviglia), 582 and
583 (for Martin y Solers Il Burbero di Buon Core)
FOR HIS OWN OPERAS: K 435
(for an aborted Singspiel), K 490 (for Idomeneo), K 577 and K 579 (for
Le Nozze di Figaro), K 584 (for Così Fan Tutte) - We included
here only the arias in this group usually performed as concert pieces.
It is very important to
keep in mind that Mozart composed his arias to fit exactly the voices
of singers who were going to perform them. This is important to understand
not only how certain roles in Mozart operas should be cast, but also
how should be the voices of certain singers who created roles in Mozart
operas. Some of these arias were composed for singers strongly admired
by Mozart, most of all Aloysia Lange, his sister-in-law and old flame.
She must have had a most remarkable flexible high soprano, for she got
the charming Nehmt
meinen Dank, the soaring Mia
speranza adorata and Vorrei
Spiegarvi, o Dio, the brilliant Ah
se in ciel and No
che non sei capace and the incredibly difficult
di Tessaglia, with
a high g in alt (the highest note ever written for the human voice).
His other sister-in-law, Josefa Weber, the first Queen of the Night,
got the also incredibly demanding Schon
lacht der holde Frühling, which was, however, left
incomplete by Mozart. He didnt forget his own wife, Constanze
Weber, to whom he had written the aria Et incarnatus est from the Mass
K427. He also gave her In
te spero, o caro sposo.
Other special friend was
the Czech soprano Josephina Duscek, the first Vitellia. Besides being
a real incentivator of Mozarts, she was said to be a most expressive
singer, with a powerful voice. For her, she composed some of his best
concert scenes, such as the wide-ranging Ah,
lo previdi! and the fiendishly difficult Bella
mia fiamma. It is said that this scene was composed with
many "traps" for the singer as a private game between the
two friends. The Irish/Italian Nancy Storace was other dear friend and
the first Susanna. He wrote especially for her the concert aria based
on the text of Idomeneo Non
temer amato bene,
with the piano obligatto written for the own composer to play in her
farewell to Vienna.
The sisters-in-law, Dorothea
Wendling and Elisabeth Wendling, the first Ilia and Elettra, were also
artists admired by Mozart, especially Dorothea, who got the moving Ah,
non lasciarmi. Elisabeth was given the coloratura display
vicino al lido. Incidentally, the singer who sang
Elettra in the Vienna concert performance, the Countess Baumgarten,
got also the beautiful Or
che il ciel a me ti rendi and Ah,
non son io.
I have the impression that
the first Dorabella, Louise Villeneuve, must have been a remarkable
singer, for Mozart composed for her voice three insertion arias that
are favourite pieces: Alma
grande e nobil core, Chi
sà, chi sà and Vado,
ma dove. On the other hand, it is a fact that Mozart never
liked the first Fiordiligi, Adrianna Ferrarese dal Bene, whom he considered
to be a bad actess and extremely proud of her top and low notes (that
is why he never resisted to make her use them exhaustively). When she
took the role of Susanna in the revival of Le Nozze di Figaro, she asked
for two replacement arias: the pretty Un
moto di gioia and the Fiordiligi-like Al
desio. Other arias for role creators in Mozart
operas are Per
questa bella mano, for the original Sarastro,
Franz Xaver Gerl - a most curious aria with double-bass obligatto, Se
al labro mio non credi, for Anton Raaf (the first
pietà non ricercate and Misero!
o sogno (for Valentin Adamberger, the first Belmonte),
rimorsi atroci and one of the versions of Non
so donde vieni for Ludwig Fischer, the first
1 - Va dal furor portata
KV 21/19c, with Thomas Moser. I was a bit disappointed with him. The
voice sounds a bit nervous and he is not at ease with florid passage.
2 - Conservati fedele KV
23, with Hanna Schwarz. It’s better than I thought, but I prefer by
a large advantage the Berganza/Fischer, first of all because of Fischer’s
most stylish conducting and of Berganza’s naturality and musicianship
even if she was not all that young by then.
3 - Or che il dover KV 36/33i,
again with Thomas Moser. There is nothing florid here, but the aria
is uninteresting IMO and the voice could sound more controled too.
4 - A Berenice e Vologeso
sposi...Sol Nascente KV 70/61c, with Lucia Popp. The aria is not that
special, but Popp makes the best of it with clear staccati and beautiful
5 - Cara, se le mie pene,
with Edith Mathis - Her coloratura is nice, but the tone is not very
6 - Per pietà, bell’idol
mio KV 78/73b - I didn’t know this aria. It’s a very interesting series
of variations and Popp sings it beautifully.
7 - Fra cento affani e cento
KV 88/73c, with Edita Gruberova. She’s in wonderful voice (I didn’t
remember she sang it so well - as a matter of fact, her voice is really
better than in the Harnoncourt, even if Harnoncourt’s conducting is
a solid advantage). The aria didn’t cause me a great impression.
8 - O
temerario Arbace... Per quel paterno amplesso KV 79/73d, with Lucia
Popp - This is a favourite item and Popp sings beautifully although
I think I prefer the Te Kanawa/Fischer and the Gens/Bolton because of
the better conducting and the fact that those singers sing it with better
9 - Misero me!... Misero
Pargoleto KV 77/73e, with Edith Mathis- The Berganza/Fischer is far
better. The not that young Berganza sounds younger than Mathis and is
more comfortable with the tessitura. As always, Fischer’s conducting
is more interesting.
10 - Se ardire e speranza
KV 82/73o, with Lilian Sukis. Here the competition with the Berganza/Fischer
is really cruel...
11 - Se
tutti i mali miei KV 83/73p, with Edith Mathis - As in the previous
item, the tone is not really beautiful and the staccati could be more
spontaneous. The aria didn’t stick to my memory either.
12 - Non curo l’affetto
KV 74b, with Gruberova - The aria is charming and Gruberova sings it
13 - Si
mostra la sorte KV 209, with Francisco Araiza. This is one of the best
items until now of the collection. Araiza sings lovely, stylishly and
with no difficulty at all. The aria is also really nice. He also recorded
it with Wimberger and is equally in beautiful voice there and the conducting
is somewhat more animated.
14 - Con ossequio, con osservanza
KV 210, with Claes Ahnsjö - This is a kind of aria for tenor buffo and
Ahnsjö would be perfect if he had idiomatic Italian.
15 - Voi
avete un cor fedele KV 217, with Edith Mathis - Another favourite one.
Again Mathis disappointed me. She offered no charm at all and I thought
that the tempo chosed by Hager for the fast section was not as fluid
as I expected. I made some comparisons here and all the other performances
were better. The Gruberova/Harnoncourt has great contrast, brilliant
coloratura and energetic conducting; Bayo/Perez has nice orchestral
sound and Bayo sings it as naturally as if she was singing a pop song.
It’s charming and has some personality. Although I know people usually
dislike Emma Kirkby out of the baroque repertoire, I like her disc very
much, especially because of Hogwood’s great conducting. In this particular
item, she has wonderfully clear divisions and excellent ornamentation,
even if the voice itself is not that expressive.
16 - Ombra Felice!... Io
ti lascio, e questo addio KV 255, with Hanna Schwarz. Once again, I
was not disappointed with Schwarz, but the Berganza/Fischer remains
the more stylish and expressive. Fassbaender/Wimberger is really sensitive,
but the German mezzos legato is faulty and it sounds rather low
for her voice.
17 - Clarice, cara mia sposa
KV 256, with Claes Ahnsjö. Again an aria for tenore buffo. Ahnsjö is
astonishing precise with the patter, but his Italian is still very accented.
18 - Ah,
lo previdi...ah, tinvola...Deh, non varcar K 272, with Lucia Popp.
One of the very favourite items. The chief offender here is Hager, who’s
particularly heavy and slow. Because of it, Popp doesn’t sound very
spontaneous. In the first part, she doesn’t sound really comfortable
to my ears. The "Ah, crudele!, Ah! spietato!" shows a bit of a stretch
in the tone. She is far better in the Deh non varcar, where her perfect
trills and floated tones do wonders. Nevertheless, I still prefer the
Gundula Janowitz/Boettcher even if she doesn’t try one trill (I don’t
know the score, but it doesn’t look they are written). Gundula offers
the most expressive recitatives, shows nobility throughout and doesn’t
seem to be holding herself to produce heavenly pianissimi. Her account
moves me everytime I listen to it and she’s nicely accompanied. I am
not a great admirer of the Te Kanawa/Fischer recital because I think
her voice doesn’t sound as pure as she can and she doesn’t seem really
enraged in the first part. However, her trills are very nice. I still
prefer Janowitz, though. The Bayo/Perez has great conducting and Bayo
goes for some dramatic effects. Her voice is really lovely, she does
the trills, but her interpretation is kind of artifficial to my ears,
as if she was repeating someone else’s ideas. However, I prefer her
to the above mentioned performances, except for Janowitz. The Kirkby/Hogwood
is a nice one if one doesn’t detest Kirkby. The tone doesn’t have much
colour, but her performance is very stylish and her pure tones make
wonders in Deh non varcar. No need to mention that Hogwood’s conducting
couldn’t be better.
19 - Alcandro,
lo confesso... Non so donde viene KV 294, with Lucia Popp -
20 - Se
al labbro mio non credi KV 295, with Francisco Araiza -
21 - Basta,
vincesti...Ah, non lasciarmi, with Lucia Popp KV 486a/295a- This one
is a favourite of mine. I like the text and think Mozart was particularly
inspired. It’s a masterpiece - Popp sings beautifully and Hager doesn’t
offer many obstacles. However, I miss a broken heart here. When I listen
to the Battle/Previn, there’s a whole atmosphere and drama going on
and Battle is at her most seductive and feminine. One almost believes
that the guy is going to change her mind and stay after that.
22 - Popoli
di Tessaglia, with Gruberova KV 316/300b- This one is simply WONDERFUL.
Gruberova doesn’t seem disturbed by the cruelly high tessitura and sings
forcifully and the high g’s in alt are something everyone should listen
to - just for the experience. I cannot imagine that really light sopranos
could do something like what Gruberova did and I have trouble imagining
Edda Moser really producing the pure tone and floated high pianissimi
Gruberova offers here. But this is only speculation since I don’t know
her performance. Although Natalie Dessay and Thomas Guschlbauer are
less expressive and dramatic than Gruberová and Hager, her coloratura
and ease with high tessitura are impressive, even next to Gruberová.
23 - Ma
che vi fece...Sperai vicino al lido KV 368, with Edita Gruberova - This
is an impressive performance from Gruberova and a lesson of how to sing
this repertoire. Her runs and every kind of ornamentation are made with
astonishing precision and forceful expression. Compared to her performance
some 12 years later for Harnoncourt, the voice is not that faultess
in the second performance, only the pianissimi are more floating. From
the interpretative point of view, she sings almost the same way in the
two performances, except for the fact that sometimes in the second she
overinflects what sounds natural in the first. Another strong point
for Gruberova is that, whenever she sings, Hager’s conducting improves
enormously. On her EMI recital with Thomas Guschlbauer, Natalie Dessay
offers an impressive technical display, although she is rather anonimous
22 - Misera,
dove son?...Ah, non son’io che parlo KV 369, with Edith Mathis - Another
favourite. As always, Mathis’s performance is the less interesting I’ve
known. Gundula/Böttcher is so, so. The conducting is a bit slowish.
Gundula is in exquisite voice but doesn’t completely shift to the second
part of the aria. The voice is a bit pinched too in the high notes.
Te Kanawa/Tate has Kiri producing indifferent recitative and the phrasing
was a bit too soft for it. The Gruberova/Harnoncourt is beautifully
sung (although she is a bit mannered) and conducted, but I have to say
that the Battle/Previn is my favourite. His conducting is nice and clear
and she’s so inside the emotional content of this music... In the recitative,
she describes the misfortunes of her husband and family. Then she stops
and says "And I still speak? Do I still breath?" Battle puts real amazement
in her voice and then goes for a heartbraking "Ah, it’s not me who’s
speaking, it is the cruel pain who makes me delirious". It’s singing
of the highest expressive caliber and which makes me regret that Battle
is not around as she used to be.
23 - A
questo seno, deh, vieni...Or che il cielo KV 374, with Edith Mathis
- Again, things don’t appear to be favourable to Mathis. In comparison
to Gruberova in the Harnoncourt set, she doesn’t have much to offer.
Gruberova is in nice voice and sings with a true sense of joy. Janowitz
also sings this beautifully, but she is not in the same expressive level
of Gruberova nor Böttcher’s conducting compares with Harnoncourt’s.
On the other hand, the Murray/Weikert is a most appealing recording.
Ann Murray is in creamy voice up to the highest notes and sings with
good taste, affection and style. Ralf Weikerts conducting is very
24 - Nehmt
meinen Dank KV 383, with Lucia Popp. Here competition is very very tough.
Lucia Popp sings beautifully and Hager offers great woodwind playing,
but - to quote Voltaire - best is the enemy of good. The thing is that
I find that both Te Kanawa/Fischer and Schäfer/Abbado offer things of
higher level. Musically, I prefer the Schäfer. The voice is lovely,
focused; she’s a complete stylist and ornamentates wonderfully and Abbado’s
conducting plus perfect recording make it a number one for me. However,
Kiri is the one to produce a whole sense of occasion in it. She takes
the aria very seriously and shows a real sense of gratitude in creamy
tone colouring and expressive phrasing. Fischer conducting is also very
nice. As a 3rd option, I’d chose the Kirkby/Hogwood - but don’t recommend
to those allergic to Kirkby. Of course, the tone doesn’t have the attractive
qualities of Popp, Kiri or Schäfer, but she is very crispy about her
German and her voice sounds like an extra instrument in the orchestra.
The result is really nice. As for the Margaret Price, it was very uncharacteristic
of this singer. It showed a bit of bad taste. I disliked the downward
portamenti in "niemals vergessen" and "dich zu verdienen", not to mention
other details of heavy phrasing.
25 - Mia
speranza adorata...Ah, non sai KV 416, with Edita Gruberova. Gruberova
sings this aria beautifully in her both recordings. However, I prefer
the Schäfer/Abbado because it has a sadder tone and her performance
forms a whole piece of expression rather than the collection of nice
moments such as in the Gruberova performances. Anyway, these three performances
are exceptional. Natalie Dessay, with Thomas Guschlbauer, offers a shallow
account of this expressive aria, what makes it interesting only for
26 - Vorrei
spiegarvi KV 418, with Edita Gruberova - Another item of close competition
and a favourite among concert arias. Gruberova recorded it here and
for Harnoncourt. Of course, Harnoncourt’s conducting is better than
Hager’s, but Gruberova is in better voice in the first recording and
avoids some bodiless pianissimo singing she produces in the second.
However, well sung as it is, I think that she didn’t quite grasp the
meaning of this aria. This has lots to do with Voi che Sapete, with
its staccati and woodwind obligatto. Although the girl is saying "Go",
she does mean "Don’t go!". It’s a seductive aria and, even if she does
produce ONE sour note, Battle goes for the heart of the question. It’s
total seduction. When she says "this makes me seem cruel", the "cruel"
is almost irresistible... Anyway, the Schäfer/Abbado is still my "rational"
option. The conducting is simply perfect and the pizzicati have pride
of place and give more flavour to the whole thing. Schäfer phrases expressively
and offers stylish and exciting ornamentation. I only wish that voice
and oboe was so in the same level as in the Battle/Previn. THIS IS VERY
IMPORTANT, because, exactly as in Voi che Sapete, the oboe is "saying"
what the singer cannot say. Maybe my "emotional" option (the Battle/Previn)
would be the one to keep. Who knows... Natalie Dessay offers a technically
impressive account of the aria, with exquisite soft top notes and admirable
legato, not to say creative decoration of section A's repeat. That said,
it is sorely inexpressive, and conductor Thomas Guschlbauer is bland
all the way. I wouldn’t pick the Margaret Price - it’s too heavy and
I totally disagree with her changing the ending of the aria to a top
No che non sei capace KV 419, with Edita Gruberova - I like very much
the forceful way Gruberova sings this aria and comparisons between the
Hager and the Harnoncourt follow the general rule: Harnoncourt is the
better conducting; the voice is more impressive and interpretation more
natural in the first. Natalie Dessay, with Thomas Guschlbauer, is far
less flamboyant, but is technically impressive and is a bit more natural
in the lower register than Gruberová.
28 - Per
pietà, non ricercate KV 420, with Thomas Moser. This aria is very charming
and, although Moser has an exquisite voice, he has many examples of
clumsy phrasing here. A pity Araiza didn’t record this one! Anyway,
the good idea is to listen the Winbergh/Wimberger, where the Swedish
tenor is in exquisite voice and has a nice conductor in Gerhard Wimberger.
29 - Così
dunque tradisci...Aspri rimorsi atroci KV 432/421a, with Robert Lloyd.
An interesting aria too and, although Lloyd’s voice is a bit lugubrious,
his singing is virtually faultless.
30 - Misero!..
Aura che intorno spiri KV 431/425b, with Francisco Araiza. Not only
is this a beautiful aria, but it is also splendidly sung by Francisco
Araiza. It’s simply perfect.
31 - Ch’io
mi scordi di te? ... Non temer amato bene (with piano) KV 505, with
Edith Mathis. This was the less disappointing performance by Mathis
in this disc, but it is also very poor compared to the other performances
I have here. Basically, I have three performances by high soprano, two
by darker lyric sopranos, one by a mezzo and one by a more heroic kind
of soprano. I find the Schäfer/Abbado, particularly attractive because
of her expressive singing, nice recording and beautiful piano playing
from Maria João Pires and I find pleasing to listen to it sung by a
high soprano. The Te Kanawa/Tate is also very pleasing - the conducting,
recording and Mitsuko Uchida’s playing are all of them excellent and
Kiri’s singing has almost no fault at all, even if she doesn’t try to
create a dramatic situation and really sings it as a concert piece.
The Gens/Bolton has an immaculate performance from the French soprano,
but together with conducting and Melvyn Tan’s playing, it’s a bit bland,
nice as it is. Again, even if lots of people are going to disagree with
me, I find the Kirkby/Hogwood excellent. She sings with total musicianship,
cleaness of articulation and has a quality of her own - she sings it
as a song and it sounds easy and quite natural (which is not). Hogwood’s
conducting is the best here and Robert Levin’s fortepiano couldn’t be
better. As it comes to the Abbado video from Prague, it must be taken
in Cheryl Studer’s side that it is a live performance. However, the
low tessitura gives her lots of trouble, even if she sings sensitively.
Conducting and playing are nice. Margaret Price’s performance is taken
from a totally operatic point-of-view, but one with sense of style and
purity of tone. The low notes could be a bit more natural, but it’s
a beautiful performance with sensitive piano playing and conducting
from James Lockhart. We also have Berganza/Pritchard. Sometimes it’s
a bit high for Berganza and she can sound hard, but it’s generally lovely
sung. The orchestra is a bit heavy and the piano playing of Geoffrey
Parsons sometimes sounds lost in the middle of the whole thing. From
the interpretive point of view, Berganza doesn’t try to create a character,
but offers lots of charm with her spontaneous singing.
32 - Mentre ti lascio, o
figlia KV 513, with Robert Lloyd
33 - Alcandro,
lo confesso... Non so d’onde viene KV 512, with Robert Lloyd - As I
said before, Lloyd’s performances are most enjoyable and I prefer him
to the Moll/Weller, where the German bass, although very precise in
his coloratura, is in dry voice.
Bella mia fiama, addio...Resta, o cara KV 528, with Lilian Sukis - Ah,
this is a real test for a singer. It was written for Josepha Duscek,
famous for her wide vocal range, technical accuracy and dramatic temper.
No need to tell that she was the first Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito.
As a matter of fact, not one of the recordings I have here are perfect,
but all of them are worth while listening. Hager chose Sukis for this
one, which surprised me, since it was Lucia Popp who sang the other
Duscek aria (Ah lo previdi...Ah, t’invola). Maybe Popp should have recorded
this one too. Anyway, there’s one point in Sukis’s favour. Her voice
is substantial enough to deal with it without stress even if if the
tone is not exactly attractive. Anyway, even if not particularly enlightening,
her performance is the one which coordinates better vocal ease and stylishness.
Janowitz/Böttcher and Te Kanawa/Fischer have similar strong and low
points. Both could never have sung Vitellia and this explains their
problems with the stretta of the aria (Ah, dov’è il tempio?). Janowitz
is the loveliest in the recitative and the slow section, with heavenly
tones which make you think if it is possible for a human voice to sound
so exquisite. Her control of soft singing is something to marvel and
she has creates a most dignified atmosphere. The problems start at the
stretta. She sings it rather slower than the other singers, breathes
more than the others and some high notes are pinched. Kiri is also expressive
in the recitative and slow section, though in a generalized way. Her
voice is in top creamy form, but also has problems with the stretta.
Basically, it’s quite a stretch for her and she loses focus sometimes.
One feels she’s not comfortable. Then we come to Margaret Price/Lockhart.
Now we have quite the voice for the song. And also the dramatic quality.
Sometimes she runs close to the edge of Mozartian style, but it’s a
very intense portrayal. One feels that it is an extreme moment and she’s
the bravest with the stretta. She takes it really fast and deals wonderfully
with the difficulties. Sometimes the high notes are a bit too dramatic,
but it’s a convincing portrait. The Varady/Wimberger has disadvantages
and advantages. She hase the voice for the song too (and was a consumate
Vitellia) and gives a direct heroic performance which is quite fitting
for a "male" aria, but sometimes it lacks finish and she is
a bit lost in the end of the stretta, where the tempo is rather fast
for her. Barbara Frittoli, wonderfully partnered by Charles MacKerras,
is incredibly at ease with what she has to do, but the tone is really
too vibrant for Mozart and she is very uninteresting as a performer
35 - Ah,
se in cielo benigne stelle KV 538, with Edita Gruberova - This is the
kind of thing where Gruberova always excels. Comparisons between Harnoncourt
and Hager follow the general rule between those two performances. Natalie
Dessay brings charming tone and accomplished technique to the aria,
but sings in a generalized manner. Conductor Theodor Guschlbauer is
also unspecific, but offers appropriate tempo. The orchestral playing
is a bit dispeptic.
36 - Ich möchte wohl
der Kaiser sein, KV 539, with Walter Berry.
37 - Un bacio di mano, KV
541, with Walter Berry.
38 - Alma
grande e nobil core KV 578, with Edith Mathis. Again Hagers attention
to woodwind makes for great results, but Mathis is again un unfocused
voice and lacks delicacy. Lucia Popp/Wimberger is a most attractive
item. Shes in extra warm voice here and it moves beautifully.
Also, she always is in the right mood for each moment.Wilfried Böttchers
conducting is a bit on the heavy side and this doesnt help Gundula
Janowitz - she is in heavenly voice, but a bit unaware of the "dramatic"
39 - Chi
sà, chi sà qual sia KV 582, with Lucia Popp. Popps
voice is a bit heavy here, but she is very expressive and adept in coloratura.
Hagers conducting has nice pace. On the other hand, Kiri Te Kanawa
is in golden voice and, even if her coloratura is not as clear as Popps,
she has better legato. However, I miss some interpretation. She seems
happy to sing prettily here. Colin Davis conducting is unclear and the
orchestra could be closer.
40 - Vado,
ma dove KV 583, with Edith Mathis. Although Hagers conducting
is quite charming, with highlighted woodwind, Edith Mathis lacks sensuality.
However, it is probably her best performance in the Philips edition.
The Donath/Guschlbauer is rather disappointing. Helen Donath is in excessively
soubrett-ish voice and ruins the whole thing. On the other hand, Gundula
Janowitz sings it in shining tones and sensuous phrasing. It would have
been perfect if Böttcher was a bit more animated. Margaret Price
is also in exquisite voice and excells in floated tones. Kiri Te Kanawa
is also very interesting, with warm and creamy tone, though not as extatic
as Janowitz and Price.
41 - Per
questa bella mano KV 612, with Walter Berry. This is a rare item, an
aria with double bass obligatto. The result is really charming, but
the aria places lots of difficulties to the singer. It requires a widest
range, flexibility and even trills. Berry meets each one of the individual
tasks beautifully, but - in the whole - it could be more ingratiating.
42 - Io ti lascio, oh cara
addio KV Anh.245/621a (vocal part by Gottfried von Jacquin), with Robert
43 - Se tutti i mali miei
KV 83/73p (ornamented version), with Julie Kaufmann. The aria is quite
charming and Julie Kaufmann has plausible coloratura, but her voice
is not completely firm in these recording. Anyway, she is better than
Edith Mathis in the original
version in the Philips Edition. Jörg Peter Weigles
conducting is good, but the orchestra could be lighter. Natalie Dessay
with Thomas Guschlbauer is the preferable recording, with the French
soprano in excellent voice and a rather more congenial conductor.
44 - Cara la dolce fiamma
KV 293e (from J.C.Bachs Adriano in Siria, ornamentation by Mozart),
with Julie Kaufmann - Mozart wrote the cadenze to this aria for Aloysia
Lange. Im afraid that Julie Kaufmanns voice is not a "Lange"
voice. Here it is better than in the previous item, because the tessitura
is higher. This aria has beautiful melodic ideas, but is a bit long
for its material.
45 - Alcandro lo confesso...Non
so donde viene, KV 294 (ornamented version), with Julie Kaufmann
- This is the third version of this aria.
In order to work, this song requires some floating and easy mezza voce
and Kaufmanns voice gets a bit instable in these conditions. On
the other hand, Natalie Dessay (with Thomas Guschlbauer) is entirely
46 - Se al labbro mio non
credi, KV 295 (revised version), with Hans-Peter Blochwitz - Here we
have Blochwitz singing the second version of an aria
sung in its original version in the Philips edition by Francisco Araiza.
The truth is that, although Blochwitz is stylish, he cannot compete
with Araiza in this repertoire. Weigles conducting is again pleasing,
but the Dresden Philharmonie has an apter sound than the Münchner
Rundfunk (in the Kaufmann items).
47 - Der Liebe himmlische
Gefühl (orchestrated by E. Smith) KV 119/382h, with Eva Lind -
This aria is not particularly distinguished and one would need a really
good singer to make it work. Alas, this is not the case of Eva Lind,
whose tone is incredibly impure and metallic.
48 - In
te spero, o sposo amato (completed by E.Reichert) KV 440/383h, with
Eva Lind - Again we have Lind with Weigl and the Dresden Philharmonie.
This is an interesting coloratura display, but Linds coloratura
is arthritic and it simply doesnt work.
49 - Müßt ich
auch dürch tausend Drachen (completed by E. Smith) KV 435/416b,
with Stuart Burrows - Here is an interesting heroic aria with sophisticated
concertante writing. Stuart Burrows is in excellent voice and manner
and Colin Davis and the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields produce
a wonderfully mozartian sound.
50 - Männer suchen
stets zu naschen (completed by E. Smith) KV 433/416c, with Robert Lloyd
- This is also very charming, with Lloyd very funny and insinuating.
Colin Davis and the ASMF are wonderful partners.
51 - Ah, spiegarti, o Dio,
vorrei (orchestated by E. Smith) KV 178/417e, with Julie Kaufmann -
This is an alternative version for Vorrei,
spiegarvi o dio, but has nothing to do with the more famous
version we are used to listen to. Here the atmosphere is more teazing
than seductive and, although I prefer Vorrei, spiegarvi, it is a very
charming piece that should be performed more often. However, it required
a more charming performer than Kaufmann.
52 - Schon
lacht der holde Frühling (completed by E. Smith), KV 580, with
Christiane Eda-Pierre - This is quite a display aria, with two sections,
a fast coloratura big section followed by a very lyric and evocative
one. Although Colin Davis and the ASMF provide wonderful atmosphere,
Eda-Pierre didnt catch it. Her voice is warm and velvety, but
her coloratura and top notes lack ease. This piece really needs someone
completely undisturbed by the technical demands and who has charm to
spare - someone like Gruberova, in other words.
53 - Chio
mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene (with violin) KV 490, with
Peter Schreier- Hagers conducting is a bit on the slow side, but
the violin is nicely recorded and played. Schreier is only correct -
he has horrible Italian and his top notes tend to be explosive. The
Battle/Previn is a fantastic item - Battle is in gleaming voice and
offer some spectacular top notes. Also, the violin obligatto is beautifully
recorded in the same level of importance as the soprano, which makes
for nicest effects. I preferred her to Margaret Price, who surprisingly
lacks some finish sometimes. Kiri Te Kanawa is in such velvety voice
and phrases with such good taste that I would call her performance irresistible,
but I wished that the violin was recorded closer and that the orchestra
was a bit more clear. Francisco Araizas performance is the best
piece of Mozartian singing ever commited to disc by a tenor. Hes
in honeyed voice and offers exquisite phrasing throughout. Moreover,
Harnoncourt is in top form. I found the Marshall/Weikert disappointing,
because she lacks tone somehow and is not totally at ease.
54 - Giunse
alfin il momento... Al desio KV 577, with Julie Kaufmann -
55 - Un
moto di gioia KV 579, with Eva Lind
56 - Rivolgete a lui lo
sguardo KV 584, with Anton Scharinger