Album Title: Mozart Sinfonia Concertante / Haydn Violin Concerti 1 & 4
Performer: Rachel Podger, violin; Pavlo Beznosiuk viola; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Label: Channel Classics
Playing time: 66'38"
Recorded: England, 2009

Here is a very exciting recorded programme of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola and two violin concerti by Joseph Haydn. With great wisdom, discipline and breath, Rachel Podger displays beautiful serenity that's just occasionally perhaps at the expense of added emotion. Here the juxtaposition of tempi is the real joy. Rachel Podger and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment know how to reach for higher virtuosity in the fast movements and then focus on full compliance with the slow movements. This latter fact is particularly obvious in the concerto's "Adagio N°. 4". Compared to the Elizabeth Wallfisch version with the same orchestra during the 90s, I'd call this new one the more bravura if arguably not as close to Haydn’s spirit.

Yet Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante is equally superlative and a serious alternative to the Fischer-Nikolic SACD version on Pentatone Classics. There are absolutely no mannerisms and the musicians focus purely on the score with true mastery. Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante is a masterpiece of incredible originality and amazing musical force. The Beznosiuk-Podger duet demonstrates it with exquisite natural virtuosity and no need to be artificially demonstrative. The shared pleasure of violinist and violist each performing on a highly praised Stradivarius (loaned by the Royal Academy of Music for this project) reinforces an overall sensation of a very natural and energetic interpretation. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment contributes magnificently rich and full sonics for what is definitely a great release.