Composers: Haydn, Mozart
Performers: Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti
Catalogue Number: ABC Classic 4818571
A cracking performance of Mozart’s Symphony No 25, K181 – the ‘Little G Minor’, of 1773 – sits at the heart of this new release from the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Recorded during concerts at Sydney’s City Recital Hall in 2013, the string opening of this ‘Sturm und Drang’ symphony, written when Mozart was a teenager, sizzles with energy in the hands of Richard Tognetti and his musicians. There are some beautiful wind moments (listen to the bassoons in the Andante and the whole section in third movement’s Trio) and the finale has plenty of drive.
The Mozart is bookended by Haydn (also recorded in 2013). The Symphony No 49, Hob.I.49 has accrued the nickname ‘La Passione’ since Haydn penned it in 1768, during his own ‘Sturm und Drang’ period. The much later Symphony No 104, H.I.104, the last of his so-called ‘London Symphonies’, was recorded at the same venue some five years later.
The darkness of the former – particularly in the opening Adagio and stern Menuet – gives the album’s first half plenty of gravitas, balanced at the other end by the joyous grandeur of the larger-scale Symphony No 104.
The orchestra plays with its trademark precision and energy in all cases, with the greater forces of the London filling out the ensemble’s sound, the final movement bringing the disc to an exciting close.