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Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 38 & 39

Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 38 & 39

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The NDR Philharmonie and Andrew Manze continue their exploration of Mozart’s late orchestral works with a recording of the composers 38th and 39th symphonies. Nicknamed after Prague, where it was first performed in 1787, the 38th shares with its successor a solemn, “Romantic” slow introduction to the first movement, followed by lighter music that shares a kinship with the playful arias and ensembles of Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, composed in the same period. By playing all repeats, Manze underlines the ambitious, expansive character of these works, but the NDR Radiophilharmonie never drags, offering the same energy and sense of urgency as in their acclaimed interpretation of Mozart’s 40th and 41st symphonies, released in 2019. In their collaboration, Andrew Manze brings his experience in the field of historically-informed performance to the polished symphonic sound of the NDR Radiophilharmonie, resulting in a prize-winning complete cycle of Mendelssohn symphonies (2017-2018), as well as highly-praised interpretations of Mozart’s 40th and 41st symphonies (2019) and Beethoven’s 5th and 7th symphonies (2020), all released on PENTATONE.


This recording completes the set of the last Mozart symphonies by these forces conducted by Andrew Manze after their superb coupling of Nos. 40 and 41 from 2019 (PTC5186757). I was surprised that that recording didn’t garner more admiring reviews. I hope this new release gets the plaudits its companion didn’t get but certainly deserved.

Manze is one of the most interesting conductors around at the moment. Whether it is his excellent Vaughan Williams symphony series (Onyx) or his positive contributions to the dazzling Martin Helmchen’s recordings of the Beethoven piano concertos (Alpha), whatever Manze is up to is always worth listening to.

Pentatone continue their current run of state-of-the-art recordings and, as I have indicated, the NDR Radiophilharmonie play like a dream for Manze. This is wonderful Mozart. Unless you have an absolute need to hear this music played on period instruments, this is a recording to get.

– MusicWeb International

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Pentatone Music
    • UPC/Barcode: 827949076565
    • Item Number: PTC5186765