Thursday, June 23, 2011
Mozart Symphonies by Joseph Krips PHILIPS 6CDs
But baroque music and increasingly classical period music as well are left to the devices of specialized performance groups - usually those that offer some form of Historically Informed Performance Practice (HIP).
The proliferation of original instrument - and modern instrument HIP - groups is a boon to music. But if their prominence in Monteverdi, Marais, and even Mozart comes at the expense of important composers and periods being part of the repertoire of `regular' symphony orchestras, then alarm bells should ring for two reasons.
Sure, Mozart and Haydn and Bach sound different when a large symphonic orchestra (even with reduced forces) is at work. But that isn't bad at all, it's desirable diversity. HIP is to add to our enjoyment by offering comparison and choice - not by replacing the way we've heard this music for so long.
To illustrate the high quality of music-making that can result from this approach (one we might run the danger of losing), nothing serves better than Josef Krips' recordings of the Mozart Symphonies with the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1972 and 73. This is Classical Music at its very finest. You won't find Mozart anywhere else that is played with such lightness, radiating joy, and so being the epitome of musical tip-toeing. Yes, it sounds very different - luxuriously so - than Mozart coming from smaller, HIP groups, but not heavier per se, nor swooningly romantic.
Krips covers symphonies 21 to 41 and they are finally available separately again after having long shared box-set space with the unnecessary Neville Marriner-conducted early symphonies. Even with the excellent, moderately HIP Charles Mackerras / Prague set (Teldec) available, Krips should still be the first choice of any collection's allotment for Mozart symphonies.