This all Mozart concert was recorded live in Graz, Austria and features mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Concentus Musicus Wien.

The first half of the disc features Bartoli singing some of Mozart’s arias that were intended to replace arias in some of his operas. This was sometimes done to feature a particular singer for whom Mozart wanted to offer additional opportunities to shine.

The aria tracks are:
• K.217 – Aria “Voi avete un cor fedele”
• K.583 – Aria “Vado, ma dove? Oh Dei!”
• K.577 – “Al desio di chi t’adora”
• K.579 – “Un moto di giola mi sento”
• K.528 – “Bella mia fiamma, addio”

The second half of the concert is devoted to Mozart’s Symphony #38 “Prague”, K.504.

There is some wonderful, sensitive, and beautiful playing here. A lot of fine detail is emphasized, and the phrasing and ensemble work is really outstanding. This small, chamber-style orchestra uses original valve – less horns, as well as old wooden flutes, clarinets and oboes which result in a lyrical warm sound. Particularly impressive is the sense of rhythm and dynamics. The responsiveness of the players, the adherence to pianissimo marking and crescendo are all outstanding. I personally found the concluding movement to be excellently crisp, but – for me – somewhat too fast.
In the bonus tracks, we get to see a rehearsal of the orchestra with Ms. Bartoli, as well as some reminiscing by conductor Harnoncourt about his debut as an 11- year old Cello player when he gave his first concert at the same hall in Graz, Austria.

Just listen and watch the charming aspects of Mozart as interpreted in this terrific DVD:

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