HD-Vinyl 24/96 (CBS) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante, Exultate Jubilate (Szell)


The ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ in E flat for violin and viola, K364, is an iconic work for many Mozart lovers, and arguably the greatest music he wrote in Salzburg. Yet, frustratingly, we know nothing about its origins. Apart from a sketch for the first-movement cadenza, the autograph has disappeared. Neither Mozart nor any of his contemporaries ever mentioned the work. It seems fair to assume that, inspired by the sinfonie concertanti he had encountered in Paris and Mannheim, he composed it, in summer or autumn 1779, for himself to play with the Salzburg court Konzertmeister Antonio Brunetti. But this remains guesswork.

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Abraham Skernick, Rafael Druian, Judith Raskin
Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
Conductor: George Szell
Vinyl (1965)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: CBS
DR 13
Size: 976 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

While we should beware of reading Mozart’s music as emotional autobiography, it is tempting to relate the Sinfonia concertante’s darker undercurrents, rising to the surface in the C minor Andante, to his smouldering discontent with his Salzburg servitude. Less speculatively, the sonorous richness of the orchestral writing, with violas divided throughout, reflects Mozart’s contact with the crack Mannheim orchestra – though, needless to say, the power and technical mastery of the Sinfonia concertante surpass any possible models.

The work’s special tinta is determined by the husky timbre of the viola, Mozart’s own favourite string instrument. As Charles Rosen memorably observed in The Classical Style: ‘The very first chord…gives the characteristic sound, which is like the sonority of the viola translated into the language of the full orchestra.’ There is a sonorous depth to this opening Allegro maestoso, together with a quintessentially Mozartian expressive ambivalence. The initial entry of the soloists, suspended high above the orchestra’s cadential phrases, is one of the most magical moments in any Mozart concerto; and as several performances reveal, the music’s grandeur, poetry and almost erotic yearning need not preclude a vein of frisky playfulness reminiscent of Mozart’s violin concertos. The Andante is a transfigured love duet triste that touches depths of desolation found elsewhere only in the Andantino of the Jeunehomme Piano Concerto, K271, and the Adagio of the A major Piano Concerto, K488. Mozart’s own cadenza then pushes the music to a new pitch of chromatic pathos. After the bereft, disconsolate close, the contredanse finale, virtually unshadowed by the minor key, bounds in with a glorious sense of physical relief.

As a born musical democrat Mozart gives the soloists absolutely equal billing. He also brightens the viola’s innate duskiness with a scordatura tuning – writing the part in D major, with the strings tuned up a semitone. This increases the string tension, and brings the resonant open strings into play: essential in performances using gut strings; less crucial with the more powerful, metal-strung modern viola.



  Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364  
A1 I – Allegro Maestoso 12:53
A2 II – Andante 11:56
A3 III – Presto 6:00
  Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165  
B1 I – Allegro 5:20
B2a II – Recitativo; Andante 7:42
B2b III – Vivace (Alleluja) 2:30


Analyzed folder: /96k WAM – Sinfonia Concertante – Exultate Jubilate – Szell
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR12        -1.30 dB     -17.87 dB     A1 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – I – Allegro Maestoso.aif
DR14        -2.77 dB     -21.15 dB     A2 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – II – Andante.aif
DR13        -1.74 dB     -19.14 dB     A3 Sinfonia Concertante In E-Flat Major For Violin, Viola And Orchestra, K. 364 – III – Presto.aif
DR12        -1.61 dB     -18.62 dB     B1 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – I – Allegro.aif
DR12        -3.92 dB     -20.92 dB     B2 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – II – Recitativo- Andante.aif
DR12        -0.82 dB     -17.63 dB     B3 Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165 – III – Vivace (Alleluja).aif
Number of files:    6
Official DR value:    DR13


Ripping Info


  • Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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19 thoughts on “HD-Vinyl 24/96 (CBS) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante, Exultate Jubilate (Szell)

  1. Alf,
    I’m sitting here basking in the richness of this beautiful Szell/Cleveland rendition of Mozart. It is so expressive and not just a race to get to the finish line.

    And the Exsultate Jubilate with Judith Raskin is a delight because it fits right into the “wheel house” of her voice; no strain, nothing to make one nervous in her ‘Alleluia’. Beautifully done in her clean, clear arpeggios.
    What a JOY, Alfio!
    Thanks a ton for this recording in Hi Def.

    • Happy for you, my Bob….

      This evening there will come an extraordinary gem, with one of the last appearences in a recording studio of one of the greatest sopranos ever lived. Maybe you can guess….she sings one of “her” roles 😀
      Supported by Gobbi and Bergonzi 😀

  2. Without any doubt THE performance of this violin & viola masterpiece !
    The sound feels very live : the cadenza in 1st movement end is killing !
    Unfortunately the numerous distorsions on horns in 3rd movement (track A3) are really pity..

  3. Many, many thanks for this one. It was one of my favourite recordings back when I first started collecting. Hearing it again is like meeting an old friend, unchanged after so many years!

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