Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mozart: Così fan tutte

Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (Composer)
Karl Bohm (Conductor)
    Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Alfredo Kraus (Performers)
Philarmonia Orchestra (Orchestra)

Audio CD (1988)
Number of Discs: 3
Label: EMI 7 69330 2

A benchmark recording — Christa Ludwig's dark voice and direct musicianship make a desert island Dorabella. In essence, EMI's 20-bit remastering of Karl Böhm's 1962 Così fan tutte fortifies the lower strings, winds, and timpani, while sharpening note attacks and word endings. By contrast, the label's 1988 CD transfer is equalized more evenly from top to bottom. The close-up, slightly dry sonics underline Böhm's tightly-knit, forthright, and sober conception.

He opens many of the recitative cuts made in Karajan's earlier Philharmonia Così, while presiding over a strong cast. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's silvery Fiordiligi didn't age at all since the Karajan recording, but here she enacts the text to a more precious degree. Christa Ludwig's darker voice and more direct musicianship, though, make a desert island Dorabella. As Ferrando, Alfredo Kraus' hefty, ringing tenor will appeal to tastes other than mine (I greatly prefer Karajan's Leopold Simoneau, one of the most elegant stylists to undertake this part). But how Giuseppi Taddei wraps his beguiling, idiomatic, and alert pipes around Guglielmo's music! The unusual clarity and precision of the chorus merits special distinction too. All in all, Böhm's Così, among traditional (that is, non-period instrument) recordings, safely holds its long-time benchmark position. Excellent, frank notes, plus full texts and translations are included.

FLAC - 245 MB


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