Early Music
June 2014

This is a reissue of a disc that was originally released in 2007 on Sony BMG. It consists of arias and ensembles from most of Mozart's operas between Apollo et Hyacinthus (1767) and Die Zauberflöte (1791), the excerpts from Idomeneo, Le nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan tutte preceded by the relevant recitative. The chronological approach makes for some odd tonal juxtapositions—the A major of the duet from La clemenza di Tito followed by the B flat of the quintet from Die Zauberflöte, for instance—but there are sufficiently long pauses between the numbers for this not to be too serious.

The main interest lies in the early works. 'Natus cadit' from Apollo et Hyacinthus is charmingly sung by Martene Grimson and Allan Clayton, and Rebecca Bottone and Grimson find real depth of emotion in 'Se viver non degg'io' from Mitridate. The finale to il re pastore, which with its two tenors and no bass anticipates the Act II finale to Die Entführung aus dem Serail, is faultless. Less successful are some of the later operas: the quartet from Idomeneo and Belmonte's 'O wie ängstlich' are too fast to be fully effective, and the mandolin in Don Giovanni's serenade is too backward. You might quarrel with the selection of pieces, but this splendid recording will surely whet your appetite for the complete operas.