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 Recording of the Week  The Genius of Mozart

Happy New Year, and what better way to see in 2011 than with Mozart? As UK readers will probably have realised, BBC Radio 3 are devoting the first 12 days of the year to the great composer and, from his piano concertos and string quartets to his operas and symphonies, the station will play every note that Mozart wrote, and nothing but.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The ‘Genius of Mozart’ season is not the first time that Radio 3 has used its whole schedule to celebrate the music of one composer and, after the huge successes of both ‘The Beethoven Experience’ and ‘A Bach Christmas’ back in 2005, a dedicated Mozart celebration has been a long time coming. Widely recognised as one of (if not the) greatest composers of all time, he wrote over 600 works before his death in 1791 at the age of just 35. He was rare amongst composers in that he excelled at pretty much all genres (operas, orchestral music, chamber music, vocal music, choral music etc.), and his music has an instant attractiveness which has turned him into probably the most enduringly popular of all classical composers.

Now you could argue that most Radio 3 listeners will probably know most of the Mozart works they want to know already so why devote 12 days exclusively to him? Well, I always find huge value in re-visiting the well-known, as undoubtedly a different recording from the one in your collection at home will reveal something new and fresh. Personally I also like the concentrated nature of such a 12 day festival as I think you’re more likely to notice a similarity in a theme which occurs for example in both an opera aria and a movement of a symphony. Knowing what the music is about from the opera can often help you better understand the character of the music in the symphony.

Not that I feel we particularly need an excuse to celebrate the music of Mozart, but to coincide with this major feat of classical music broadcasting, we’ve set up a special offer on a large range of Mozart recordings - both CDs and DVD videos - with discounts of up to 50%. There are some superb recordings in here including the ongoing René Jacobs Opera cycle on Harmonia Mundi, the Nikolaus Harnoncourt Symphony recordings, the Mitsuko Uchida Piano Sonatas and the Amadeus Quartet’s String Quartet recordings. There are also some fascinating older recordings in here like the remarkable Friedrich Gulda Sonata recordings and Anne-Sophie Mutter’s first recording with Karajan (of the 3rd and 5th Violin Concertos). Much to enjoy then.

Happy New Year.

The Genius of Mozart: