Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos. 1-3 (SACD)

LSO Live
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Nikolaj Znaider, London Symphony Orchestra

Taking on the roles of both conductor and soloist, Nikolaj Znaider concludes his Mozart series on LSO Live with the great composer’s first three concertos for the violin.

While they were penned before he was even out of his teens, the music of Mozart’s violin concertos is as characteristically elegant and uplifting as anything he would ever write. Znaider teases out the wit and charm in these delightful pieces, leading the virtuoso players of the London Symphony Orchestra as Mozart would have done, from the violin.

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  • Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major K207
  • Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K211
  • Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K216

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Thoughtful, polished and warmly played Mozart



Mozart's five Violin Concertos came early in his compositional career: the first three were written while the precocious wünderkind was in his teens. They are closer to severe Classical period models than his mature piano concertos, but even so, as soon as Violin Concerto No. 1's bright B-flat ritornello bursts onto the scene you know this could be no one but Mozart, and you're in safe hands. All three concertos are elegant (especially the slow movements), and melodious from start to finish.

You are in safe hands with Nikolaj Znaider as well. This young Danish violinist and conductor (b. 1975) began his career by making an international splash in the music of Nielsen and Sibelius, but he meticulously scales down his playing to classical size for Mozart. In the current style, both Znaider and the London Symphony Orchestra are thoughtfully detailed in their dynamics and articulation. They bring each individual idea to life, but don't sacrifice line and pace to do it: an impressive balancing act, neither 'automatic pilot' nor self-indulgence.

This is the second LSO disc from these artists, the first containing Concertos Nos. 4 and 5. For a smooth, more straightforwardly pure performance of all five concertos, plus two others whose authorship is dubious, there is an excellent 3-disc set from Eloquence with Mayumi Fujikawa and the Royal Philharmonic under Walter Weller. However, I'd stay with the five authentic Mozart concertos in these characterful performances by Znaider. This music brings a real ray of sunshine, and the sound is studio quality.