Tighten your belts because this one will charm your pants off.
Decca Legends give us a Mozart collection from 1959 to delight any music fan. The disc starts with the Notturno in D major for four orchestras, the effects of the four small groups showing up nicely in stereo. The first movement is especially appealing with the various sections of instruments presenting a convincing echo effect. However, the Serenata notturna in D major that follows is the highlight of the disc. It is at once elegant and refined, joyous and frothy.
Peter Maag bubbles over with the spirit of Sir Thomas Beecham at his best. We can almost see the boyish scamp Mozart gleefully leading the ensemble, and the London Symphony respond to him splendidly.
Decca recorded the first items in Walthamstow Assembly Hall, and they have a smooth, mellow sound, with a flattering ambiance. They recorded the last two items, the Symphony and German Dances, in Kingsway Hall, and these items offer a sharper, more detailed image. I would have liked a combination of the best elements of both acoustic styles, but they make an attractively contrasting pair. This is especially the case as Decca remastered them in their 96Hz/24-bit technology, and there is minimal background noise throughout the program.
One final note: the Decca engineers manage to squeeze an amazing eighty minutes and forty-eight seconds of stereo music onto the CD, one of the longest I have ever reviewed. At mid-price (or used), one cannot argue with the disc's value.
To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click on the forward arrow: