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HA 8335
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HA 8335

MOZART: Symphonies Nos. 14, 21, and 29

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2011


Schlierbacher Chamber Orchestra

Fey, Thomas

Thomas Fey


Record Label


Total Time - 63:26
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MOZART: Symphonies Nos. 14, 21, and 29



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Symphony No. 14 in A major, K. 114

1 I. Allegro moderato 7:50
2 II. Andante 4:06
3 III. Menuetto 3:24
4 IV. Molto allegro 4:20

Symphony No. 21 in A major, K. 134

5 I. Allegro 5:44
6 II. Andante 3:49
7 III. Menuetto 3:21
8 IV. Allegro 4:57

Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201

9 I. Allegro moderato 9:57
10 II. Andante 6:16
11 III. Menuetto 3:45
12 IV. Allegro con spirito 5:57
 Thomas Fey Conductor
 Fey, Thomas
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This is one of the best collections of Mozart’s symphonies I’ve heard in quite some time. It escaped my notice when initially released and only came to my attention on this website. Having been intrigued by Fey’s Haydn series I thought this worth a try. I downloaded the FLAC files. As an album concept, having all three pieces in the identical tonality aptly illustrates Mozart’s early approach to A Major. Later compositions centered in this key would either be amorous (think of Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte) or of a melancholy, iridescent quality (the late works for clarinet). However, these symphonies were written between 1771 and 1774 and are predominantly sunny and charming, even boisterous. Not only do keys suggest a particular “character” for Mozart, they can also trigger similar musical gestures, perhaps even unconsciously. The introductory upward-leaping motif of Cosi’s second act duet “Fra gli amplessi” also appears in the opening theme to K134, and as the closing gesture in the first movement of K414 (keyboard concerto), all A Major works. Fey’s approach to the string sound is influenced by the HIP movement not only in quality (lean, minimal vibrato, slightly clipped phrases), but also in ornamentation. You can generally count on repeats being varied by alternate phrasings, rhythms, added dotted figures or triplets, extra notes, etc…This makes for constant surprises and reinterpretations. Fey does the same with his Haydn recordings (listen to the F minor, one of the best performances of that work to be heard). Tempos are well judged and effective for Fey’s approach. K134's opening Allegro is bracing with flutes dancing like fairies, but the coda slows to a crawl for six bars (not indicated in the score), probably to underline its “farewell” quality. The Menuettos’ main sections are on the slow side, emphasizing the form’s origins as stately music to be danced to, rather than treating them as anti-minuets/quasi-scherzos: I’m used to a quicker tempo in that of K114. The pulse from Menuetto to Trio can vary without the score explicitly calling for it. I’m sure Fey would probably argue that the tempo character is determined by the material and the built-in contrast, but some may find it mannered. The Andante to K201 moves along at a good pace, which I enjoy, but the sacrifice is that the music’s paragraphs don’t breathe as they would at a slower tempo. As always, the moment in the coda where the violin’s mutes come off is splendid. The segue from the Menuetto to the final Allegro con spirito is exciting, as is the performance of this rousing movement. String tone is silky, with little to no vibrato. The interaction between the two violin parts is stunning in the play of the textures and tones. Fey certainly has magnificent string players. The Mozartian sforzatos are wonderfully done (I’ve always found Mozart’s use of this accent to be completely absorbing). Fey’s realizations of these three symphonies are engrossing and shows that he’s really spent some time and energy thinking about these scores. Since K134 and K201 are two of my favorite Mozart early works, I am especially pleased to find them together. All three show Fey at his considerable best, engaged and engaging. Recorded sound is pleasant, a little distant but not overly reverberant. Liner notes were not provided. In summary, wonderful performances of absolutely lovely rep. Not to be missed.
J Genzlinger