Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante, Concerto Violin & Piano - Midori

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante, Concerto Violin & Piano - Midori

Sony Classical  SS 89488

Stereo/Multichannel Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and Orchestra

Midori (violin)
Nobuko Imai (viola)
NDR Sinfonieorchester
Christoph Eschenbach (conductor)

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DSD recording
Reviews (1)

Review by Mark Novak - November 30, 2010

For those who appreciate their Mozart performed on modern instruments without undue emphasis on historically informed practice, this SACD should be right up your alley. In addition to the justly famous Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola K.364, it includes a reconstructed concerto for violin and piano based upon Mozart’s Violin sonata in D, K.306.

The Sinfonia Concertante is full of good tunes. The performances of the solo parts are immaculate. Midori and Imai play as one both linearly as well as dynamically. Eschenbach proves to be a perfect partner in leading the NDR Sinfonieorchester in all its fulsome goodness. In recent years, Eschenbach’s conducting has become wayward (e.g. his Saint-Saens Organ Symphony was ruined by too slow tempos) but back in 2000 when this recording was made, there are no such problems. I’ll take my Mozart this way any old day of the week (and yes, I have plenty of HIP Mozart recordings).

The performance of the Violin/Piano concerto features Midori with Eschenbach playing and conducting from the piano. Midori’s playing is spritely and appropriate for the music while Eschenbach’s piano contributes nicely. The musical material (not nearly as memorable as in the Sinfonia Concertante) is equally shared between the two solo instruments. I’ve always admired Eschenbach as a pianist and this recording is further proof of his sensitive musical skills at the keyboard. The accompaniment from the NDR orchestra is well executed.

This non-hybrid stereo/multichannel DSD-recorded release has been around from nearly the beginning of the SACD era. It was recorded in the NDR studio in what sounds like a very large space – there is plenty of hall sound evident in the recording. Unlike many recent Mozart recordings, the orchestra here sounds quite sizable. The recording of K.364 is somewhat better than for the violin/piano concerto. It has a bit more presence to the orchestral parts although the solo instruments are too prominent in the mix to give a truly natural perspective. Imai employs scordatura tuning for her viola (tuned up a half-step to E-flat instead of the normal D tuning) which gives a slightly brighter sound that nicely compliments the violin timbre compared to many recordings of this work. In the violin/piano concerto, the piano is placed lid-off amidst the orchestra (this can be seen in a booklet photo). Here, the sound of the piano is a bit dull compared to the brilliant violin tonality. Overall, the sound of the recording is good if not spectacular. Certainly, it is good enough to convey the excellent musicianship on display.

Lastly, it is surprising to me that this recording remains available at “normal” pricing considering that many other SACD’s of this vintage are long out of print and are fetching outrageous internet prices. My advice is to buy it while you can.

Copyright © 2010 Mark Novak and


Sonics (Stereo):

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SIGC-1 in Japan.