The Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra recorded an album of symphonies by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart during the testing phase at the National Concert Hall.
Last year, in the media campaign accompanying the opening of the Palace of Arts, little was said about the recordings, also released on CD, which were made on January 8th 2005 at the first concert of the so-called “test period” at the National Concert Hall. The CD presents two symphonies by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the “little G minor” (K. 183) written in 1773 and the “great” G minor (K 550) composed fifteen years later, performed by the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Zoltán Kocsis. The “CD dumping” accompanying this year's Mozart jubilee hardly favours this publication, and yet it contains important values and deserves to enter the field of vision of music lovers in Hungary at least.
What are these important values? Above all, that Zoltán Kocsis did not chose a gratifyingly clichéd, celebratory overture-piano concerto style concert programme for the inauguration. True, given the National Philharmonic's current repertoire policies, this is hardly a surprise: Kocsis consciously avoids easy solutions or seeking out easy successes; rather he prefers something that he and his musicians must fight for. And yet I still sense it was a brave and powerful gesture that he transcended the tired overture-concerto-symphony structure by juxtaposing two intimate and yet for all their emotional richness, essentially chamber music inspired Mozart symphonies. “What could be a greater trial of strength than the music of a master who found the appropriate mood, formal solution and instrumentation for every genre? Whose musical thoughts do not tolerate any falsely intentioned approach, forced interpretation or bloated preconception?” asks Kocsis in the accompanying brochure. All that should be added is what all musicians know well but perhaps not always the general public: that however approachable and easily comprehensible Mozart's melodies appear, it is much harder to perform a delicate Mozart movement clearly and beautifully than a dense, robust creation of Romanticism.
On this evening fourteen months ago, the orchestra, conductor and the brand new hall gave a good account. The recording displays superbly located characters of the different movements, shaded presentation of the stylistic differences between the two symphonies and the exemplary ensemble playing of the instrumental groups. Combined, it makes this CD worthy of repeated listening. The musical director of this recording by Hungarian Radio, László Matz and sound engineer Endre Mosó have done a superb job: the spectrum of sound is beautiful and flexible.
(Magyar Hírlap, March 1, 2006)