Mozart wrote these masterpieces over two centuries ago, yet somehow they remain so familiar, so moving, so relevant to our lives, even though we live in an entirely different era. And then there are the small miracles: the encounter between Mozart and a handful of inspired interpreters. We have all experienced a moment of ineffable grace, thanks to recordings – when Clara Haskil or Murray Perahia play one of his piano concertos, Carlo-Maria Giulini conducts Don Giovanni, Teresa Berganza sings Cherubino, Arthur Grumiaux interprets a sonata or violin concerto, Bruno Walter tackles one of his late symphonies or the Requiem.
We experienced yet again this zenith of musical emotion when the complete Quintets by the Talich Quartet were released in the late 1990s. For the first time, these works – which in reality were performed in concert relatively infrequently and were not widely recorded – became accessible in all of their emotional power and stunning beauty; highly complex yet immediately gripping.