Mozart: Symphonies – No 40 in G minor, K 550; No 41 in C major, K 551 (Jupiter)

Reviewed on Fri 02 Nov, 2018

The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is superb throughout, the Jupiter reminding me, in certain details, of Rafael Kubelík, who always excelled in the same work with the same orchestra.

I’d call this coupling ‘typically Blomstedt’ in that both performances generate a sense of awe without sounding over-reverential, while musical phrases are vividly shaped without bending too far, light textures never come across as lightweight, and both performances express depth of feeling though their manner of conveying that depth is always well balanced. There’s plenty of drama, too, especially in the G minor’s urgent first movement (the version used admits clarinets to the scoring), and we’re granted a full roster of repeats in both works. The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is superb throughout, the Jupiter reminding me, in certain details, of Rafael Kubelík, who always excelled in the same work with the same orchestra (I heard them perform it London to impressive effect). The G minor’s Andante is swifter than most but never sounds hurried, the Jupiter’s Andante cantabile is played as just that, singingly, while the finale, brought to its full height by those repeats, is simply magnificent and emerges – oh I’ll say it and be damned! – as the greatest symphonic movement of all time. Terrific sound, too. A superb release.
–Rob Cowan