Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was truly a musical genius who composed an impressive body of work, all before dying at the young age of 35. In fact, he wrote his first symphony when he was only eight years old. But with so many pieces of great music, there is a sea of Mozart recordings. If you're new to classical music, the 10 albums I've listed below are some of my favorite Mozart recordings.
Performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner creates a nearly flawless rendition of Mozart's Requiem as it would sound when it was first composed in 1791. Unlike many recordings, this performance of Mozart's Requiem is well defined and clean like a svelte athlete - not an overly produced, heavily orchestrated, reverb-ed mess.
There are a few albums that can never be overplayed - and this is one of them. George Szell and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra perform these three symphonies with such gusto and precision (especially the last movement of the 41st symphony - listen on YouTube), it is nearly overwhelming every time I listen to it. Every note, every detail, goes unnoticed. It is truly a remarkable and enjoyable experience to listen to these recordings. Learn more about Symphony 35, "Haffner."
With the talents of the Academy of St Martin in the Field and pianist, Alfred Brendel, Neville Marriner conducts a brilliant collection of Mozart's famous piano concertos. And with it being in Amazon's top 40 selling classical music (piano) recordings, I'm not the only one who favors this album. On this two disk set, you'll hear Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 19, 20, 21, 23, and 24, along with Rondos K. 382 and K. 386. Listen to Mozart's Piano Rondo K. 382 on YouTube.
I cannot go without posting Mitsuko Uchida's recording of Mozart's Piano Concertos 20 & 27. Here impressive ability to multi-task without losing focus is astounding - she both conducts the Cleveland Orchestra and plays the solo piano. Her unique perspective and interpretation of Mozart's music is exciting and refreshing. Watch Uchida in action on YouTube as she performs and conducts Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20.
What is considered by many to be the zenith of classical string quartet writing, Mozart's six string quartets dedicated to Josef Haydn, nos. 14 through 19, were composed in Vienna in 1785. They contain some of the most polished and classically stringent compositions. The three quartets featured on this album, No. 15, No. 17 "The Hunt", and No. 19 "Dissonance" are brilliantly executed, but with the powerhouse talent and musicality of the Emerson String Quartet, not much else is to be expected.
This is the greatest filmed performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) I've ever seen. You may recall a blog post from last year showing Diana Damrau performing the famous Queen of the Night aria from that filmed performance (view it here, if you can't remember). It is a visual and aural masterpiece.
Even if you don't like her voice, there's no denying Bartoli's prowess as a performer. Her Mozart arias are sublime. Listen to her sing Mozart's Laudate Dominum" on YouTube. Her control and lyricism is bar none. On this album you'll hear selections from Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, La clemenza di Tito, and more.
Violinist, Itzhak Perlman and pianist, Daniel Barenboim join forces to create one amazing collection of Mozart violin sonatas. This album is not only highly recommended from me, it's also highly reviewed by other classical music fans who purchased their recordings on Amazon. The original recordings were from the 80s, and repackaged as part of a box set in the 90s. It was again repackaged in the early 2000s into the collector's edition box set seen here. No Mozart collection would be complete without these performances.
So far we've covered music for piano, voice, and strings. Now it's time to add some music for you lovers of wind instruments. On this album, which spans three disks, includes works like the Clarinet Concerto in A, Horn Concerto No.3 in E flat, Horn Concerto No.4 in E flat, Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra, Bassoon Concerto in B flat, Flute Concerto No.1 in G, and more.
Here's a fantastic box set of over 230 pieces of Mozart's music. In fact, several of the recordings listed above were included in this box set. There is also a wonderful selection of Mozart's famous arias sung by exceptional singers like Cecilia Bartoli, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. So, for those of you wanting to skip making several different purchases, you can buy this one box set and easily own a well-rounded Mozart music collection.