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Harper & Mozart from The Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Edward Harper 2nd Symphony etc
Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Chorus/Gary Walker with David Wilson-Johnson baritone
Edinburgh String Quartet etc
Delphian DCD34069

Mozart Symphonies 38-41
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles MacKerras
Linn CKD 308

Two splendid contrasting new discs featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. I would urge you to go first for Edward Harper's music, a real discovery. To my shame; he is a mature, prolific and successful composer (b.1941) whose music I cannot recall having come across before - reinforcing awareness of England's insularity and the duty of a site like Musical Pointers to cast its net wide, within the British Isles as well as internationally!

The second symphony, with texts by Barnes, Butlin, Whitman and sacred pleas for peace and co-existence is timely in the centrality of Ron Butlin's stark portrayals of Arab Jewish conflict moving towards individual generosities culminating in an ode to reconciliation. The fill-ups are interesting too,re-workings of folk tunes including The Ash Grove, two short Scenas for solo cello & flute/cello/piano.

The four last symphonies of Mozart benefit from the octogenarian Sir Charles MacKerras's lifelong special study of this composer. I recall him creating a sensation by introducing appoggiaturas into The Marriage of Figaro at Sadlers Wells, I hate to remember how long ago that must have been...

These, if you need another version, are ripe accounts of the great symphonies on a modestly priced twofer; see the full notes and hear listening samples on Linn's website.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Mozart Symphonies 29, 31, 32, 35 & 36
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles MacKerras
Linn CKD 350

Another offering from Sir Charles' Indian Summer; superb, vital accounts of five more important Mozart symphonies; the Scottish Chamber Orchestra doesn't play period instruments or eschew vibrato, but the hard sticks on the timpani give it an authentic flavour from a long-renowned Mozart specialist.

Good new notes by Timothy Jones puts these symphonies into their premiere contexts, and he has interesting things to tell about No 31 (Paris), with its two slow movements (both included), and the underrated, short No 32 - unlike any other of the later symphonies.

These Linn discs will establish and maintain a distinguished place in the over-crowded Mozart discography.