Violinist aims for perfection in elegant and well-balanced Mozart concertos

Sebastian Bohren: Mozart

Sebastian Bohren: Mozart

The Strad Issue: September 2021

Description: Violinist aims for perfection in elegant and well-balanced Mozart concertos

Musicians: Sebastian Bohren (violin) CHAARTS Chamber Artists/Gábor Takács-Nagy

Works: Mozart: Violin Concertos: no.3 in G major K216, no.5 in A major K219; Symphony no.29 in A major K201

Catalogue number: AVIE AV2459

Here is a twice-cooked recording. After doing it all once, Sebastian Bohren decided they hadn’t done Mozart justice, so they went back to record it all again. Bohren has a clarity akin to what in an actor would be called perfect diction, at the service of style and drama. This is lucid, colourful playing, full of strength but always light on its feet. His tone is sweet, with a vibrato both warm and discreet. That vocal quality is apparent in the central Adagio of the G major Concerto, a wonderfully shaped aria unfolding with all the time in the world. The finale has charm and elegance.

The opening tutti of the A major Concerto has an operatic quality, vivid and thrusting onward, with prominent horns and dramatic pauses heightened by the generous acoustic. After his graceful opening Adagio Bohren brings great rhythmic energy to the Allegro aperto, with gleaming tone on the E string and springing staccatos. Forte–piano dynamics are vigorously punched by soloist and orchestra alike. The Adagio is suave, with separated notes and phrases all but joining within the prevailing legato, and the finale trips along happily before Takács-Nagy and the orchestra milk the Turkish section for all the drama it will give. They also give a spirited performance of the Symphony no.29. The recording is a model of balance and clarity.