out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Returning to see The Mozartists play again comes after seeing them in London a mere two weeks before lockdown. This final event seen in the capital had a lasting impact of me. The quality of musicianship is unbridled. Conductor Ian Page has gone about the leviathan task of getting all of Mozart’s canon performed live, essentially taking decades to complete.

We were treated to three of Mozart’s symphonies (No 12, 13 & 14) at the ripe old age of 15, with genius already on the table, heard in every note. These symphonies are conventional in nature (four movements) but the context of the composer’s age and the impact they have cannot be underestimated. In a pre-concert talk, Page said it’s not just about liking his Jupiter Symphony and I completely agree. Through this remarkable project we’ve had the chance to hear these lesser heard, lesser known pieces and we welcome the change of pace and programme. The fluffy flutes in the 15th symphony were also a welcome addition, quite moving in their arrival.

It’s the gleaming sincerity that is rich in these symphonies, the small ensemble of players really play them as if they have never before, crisp and affirmed. Soprano Emily Pogorelc gave musical offering with his concert aria “Non euro l’affetto” and Licenza Aria (the first version) from Il song di Scipione and “L’ombra de’rami tuoi” from Ascanio in Alba. Emily was a highlight of the evening really showing off some fine vocals, really going for the trills and the pacing of the recitative. You want to hear here in the full opera, no question. There lies a great discovery in Paisiello and his aria “Onde amiche…Smarrita, tremante” from Annibale Torino, an opera Mozart had watched in his early years. It’s swell to hear lesser known composers, even if Paisiello is also known for the original Barber of Seville, though things here are more serious and reflective.

I find this mix of symphony and aria to be very stimulating. Things seem to really work so well when all this comes together. An encore of a Mozart early work written for the church was regal and more sombre feel, still a fine way to end things. I will be back to see The Mozartists as soon as possible!

The Mozartists return to Cadogan Hall on 27 Jan 2022 for Mozart 1772 – A Retrospective featuring the music of Mozart, Jommelli, Traetta, J. C. Bach, Gassmann & Haydn. Featuring sopranos Jessica Cale & Chiara Skerath.

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