Classical: New Releases

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The Independent Culture
Mozart Mitridate

Les Talens Lyriques/Rousset (Decca)

Mozart's precocious opera seria, composed when he was just 14, receives a glittering, stylish and up-tempo account from the period-instrument orchestra which Christophe Rousset founded. The cast is also dazzling, including Natalie Dessay, counter tenor Brian Asawa and Cecilia Bartoli. Wonderful solo singing, taut ensembles and genuine theatrical presence throughout. A breathtaking achievement all round. HHHHH

Beethoven Variations

Gianluca Cascioli (Deutsche Grammophon)

Just 20 years of age, the Italian virtuoso Gianluca Cascioli really shows his mettle in this intriguing collection of Beethoven Variations. No fewer than seven sets of variations are up for scrutiny, plus the Andante Favori. Cascioli's pacing and accruing momentum is exemplary, whilst his basic technique remains rock solid throughout. This is a first-rate "must have" addition to anyone's Beethoven collection. HHHH