Gordon Nikolic leads the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and plays the solo violin parts in these performances of two of Mozart’s most enduring orchestral pieces. Recorded to the highest quality that we have come to expect from PentaTone, this is a splendid release, superbly played and elegantly presented.
“The Haffner, a wedding serenade for the marriage of Elizabeth Haffner in July 1776, was an outdoor summer piece, which was not good for the band, whose members were expected to move around. Thus there are no timpani; and certainly no cellos, because there were aristocratic guests (the bride`s father had been burgomaster of Salzburg), so lowly musicians couldn`t sit while they stood. When Mozart later shortened this eight-movement work to a five-movement `symphony`, he enhanced the orchestration with cellos and drums.
Gordan Nikolitch goes further. He incorporates these instruments into the original format, thus turning the Serenade into a fuller work. It has a stately expansiveness that only switches to a militaristic snap in the first movement of the Serenade, percussion now lending point both to a regal Allegro maestoso and, leading from it, a fiery alla breve Allegro molto. In the following Andante, the first of three `violin concerto` movements, Nikolitch shows that he is as superlative a violin soloist as he is a conductor, as unerring in his understanding of lyrical eloquence as he is of dramatic timing. He never puts a foot wrong.
Neither does Pentatone`s production, which keeps the perspectives steady (for example, the violin is properly balanced with the ensemble and not pulled forward for the cadenzas).
The range, transparency and tonal veracity of the recording offer a total vindication of SACD.
This is a tremendous disc.” GRAMOPHONE CLASSICAL MUSIC GUIDE
“…Nikolitch shows that he is as superlative a violin soloist as he is a conductor, as unerring in his understanding of lyrical eloquence as he is of dramatic timing.” GRAMOPHONE