Mozarts Mannheim Freiburger-Barockorchester DG 4863502

Mozart’s Mannheim
Georg Joseph Vogler (1749-1814)
Der Kaufmann von Smyrna: Overture (1771)
Christian Cannabich (1731-1798)
Symphony No 55 in C major (ca. 1777/1778)
Christian Danner (1757-1813)
Violin Concerto in F major (ca. 1777/1778)
Carl Joseph Toeschi (1731-1788)
Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Viola, Bassoon, and Cello in B-flat major (1765)
Ignaz Holzbauer (1711-1783)
Günther von Schwarzburg: Overture (1777)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
‘Alcandro, lo confesso … Non so d’ onde viene’, K. 294 (1778)
Symphony in C major, K. 208/102 (213c) (1778)
Nicole Chevalier (soprano)
Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz (violin)
rec. 2022, Ensemblehaus, Freiburg, Germany
Deutsche Grammophon 486 3502 [67]

The Electors of the Palatinate promoted the Hofkapelle during their residency in Mannheim (1720 – 1778), particularly under Carl Theodor (1743 – 1778). Mozart’s correspondence while he and his mother were in Mannheim (November 1777 – March 1778) attests to the music he encountered and composed there, as well as his opinions about certain members of the Hofkapelle, which was arguably the finest orchestra in Europe.

Mozart’s Mannheim is a well-researched album that makes works by some of his contemporaries available for the first time. The restoration of selections from the ‘Mannheimer Schule’ gives fresh perspective to Mozart’s achievements. Dr. Rüdiger Thomsen-Fürst, an expert on the Mannheim orchestra and its composers, developed a programme based on Mozart’s letters. On its first album for Deutsche Grammophon, the Freiburger Barockorchester creates a portrait of Mannheim, where the musicians inspired Mozart in ways that impacted the remainder of his musical output.

Mozart respected Ignaz Holzbauer, first Kapellmeister, who is represented here with the overture to Günther von Schwarzburg, which his contemporaries deemed the first German national opera. Christian Cannabich, director of instrumental music, probably wrote his Symphony No. 55 in C Major (a world premiere recording on the present disc) during Mozart’s sojourn in Mannheim. Carl Joseph Toeschi, director of chamber music, published the Sextet for flute, oboe, violin, viola, bassoon and cello in B flat major (another world premiere recording) in Paris (1765).

During Mozart’s first visit to Mannheim in 1763, his father, Leopold, befriended Johann Georg Danner, whose son, Christian, received composition lessons from Wolfgang in 1777/1778. Danner’s Violin Concerto in F major receives its world premiere recording on this CD. Georg Joseph Vogler, Kapellmeister while Mozart was in Mannheim, wrote his opera Der Kaufmann von Smyrna in 1771, the overture of which receives its world premiere recording here.

Two of Mozart’s compositions from Mannheim have an added resonance when heard immediately after a series of works conceived for the same musical forces. The Symphony in C major K. 208/212 was premiered at Cannabich’s home on 13 February 1778. Its opening movement is the overture to Il re pastore (1775); the second movement is an arrangement of Aminta’s opening aria to the same work; and the third movement was new.The concert aria ‘Alcandro, lo confesso … Non so d’onde viene’ K. 294 was premiered in March 1778 by Aloysia Weber, the sixteen-year-old soprano with whom Mozart was in love, at Cannabich’s home.

The Freiburger Barockorchester directed by Gottfried von der Goltz interprets each composer with confidence and verve. Soprano Nicole Chevalier gives a fiery account of the concert aria, and von der Goltz makes a convincing case for Danner’s Violin Concerto. Thomsen-Fürst notes duly that Mannheim influenced Mozart in ways that can scarcely be overestimated. In my view, Mozart differed from his contemporaries featured on this disc by assimilating their innovations into an inimitable style with galvanising senses of inevitable progression and momentum.

The booklet contains several colour photographs of the musicians in a nondescript concert venue, but omits the sung texts for ‘Alcandro, lo confesso … Non so d’ onde viene’ K. 294. If one of these pictures, which spans two pages, had been omitted, there would have been space for Pietro Metastasio’s verses and translations thereof. Apart from this lapse in editorial judgement, the present release is an excellent addition to the Mozart discography that illuminates how he developed through engagement with his contemporaries.

Daniel Floyd

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