“...a prolific musician, with a wide (one dare say humungous) range of work, not to mention the numerous awards... Cohler’s playing is immaculate. His extended range clarinet gives particular depth to the first movement’s wide-ranging lines. The soft, pensive, and languid second movement is suitably fluid without sentimentality, the clarinet line appearing as a primus inter pares with the orchestra rather than overt soloist. The finale is performed as a light and airy dance, just the way Mozart probably would have loved it... the two overtures are also impressive... one of Mozart’s most difficult works [the “Haffner” Symphony], beginning as it does with a whole note and double dotted halves with quick upbeats. Most conductors never hold it to its full length, as it seems to delay getting on with the piece, and then rush the next measure; here, it seems that Cohler uses this time to give the interpretation the power it needs... It is, however, the finale that fires off the energy, and here Cohler takes it at the breakneck speed that Mozart wished (in a letter the composer calling it Prestissimo). In a world awash in music by Mozart, and each of the pieces chosen for this disc have multiple examples of various interpretations, this disc stands out as filled with energy and excellent interpretations... The power and liveliness of the Haffner Symphony and the two overtures round out a full hour of wonderful Mozartean pleasure. Kudos to Cohler and Anima Musicae for giving us this performance.
5 Stars: energetic and finely crafted performances; Jonathan Cohler and his group present excellent interpretations that should be the standard for Mozart”
—Bertil van Boer, Fanfare Magazine
“This is Mozart played with energy, momentum, and joyful spirit throughout...delightful flexibility in the rollout of the opening phrase of the “Haffner” Symphony...These kinds of delights may be found throughout. The Animae Muiscae Chamber Orchestra, under Cohler’s inspired direction, acquits itself in fine fashion...magnificent performance...gorgeous tone, breathtaking facility, a seamless legato, and elegance and mastery of phrasing, all on an exalted level. Indeed, Cohler’s performance of the solo part evokes the qualities that Mozart prized most in his own keyboard and violin/viola performances. The recorded sound is excellent; impactful and sharply defined, but without a trace of artificial enhancement or spotlighting...this disc is a must...one that serves Mozart at an extremely high level. Enthusiastically recommended.
5 Stars-Scintillating Mozart.”
—Ken Meltzer, Fanfare Magazine
“As well as you think you know one of the best-known masterworks of the repertoire, there is always something new to be learned. That is the lesson Jonathan Cohler teaches us about Mozart’s immortal clarinet concerto...the edition is Cohler’s own, a thoroughly researched and re-examined edition that hasn’t been undertaken since Bärenreiter’s 1977 reconstructed version for basset clarinet...an exceptionally transparent and vivid recording that “hears” everything, but Cohler’s performance has about it a spirit of enlivening spontaneity that makes one feel as if the concerto was written just yesterday and is being heard here for the very first time. We take this ride with Cohler as if on a voyage of discovery. Everything is new and fresh...a joyful performance of Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony...Cohler uncorks his orchestra for an intoxicating performance of bubbles and fizz...A truly special album, deserving of the highest praise and strongest recommendation.”
—Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine
“Cohler...can float a line over slowly wafting strings with the most perfect legato...this performance vies with the greatest performance I ever heard, Peter Schmidl with Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic at the 1987 Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London...It is to move to another world, seemingly, to experience the high-voltage opening of the “Haffner” Symphony. The recording is supremely involving...The central movement is here a properly sprightly Andante, discipline meeting freshness (a tremendously clean bassline) and expressivity. This is the very epitome of Mozartean G-Major grace achieved through proper sense of style...Five stars: An important release on many levels...Mozart casts his spell as rarely before.”
—Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine
“Every generation has its clarinet soloist—Stadler, Baermann, De Peyer, Stoltzman, etc. In our time, that person is Jonathan Cohler. His body of recorded clarinet music is nothing short of breathtaking; all gorgeous soloistic playing. Plus he is a fine conductor. If he was also a composer, we’d be comparing him to Leonard Bernstein.”
—Michael Drapkin, Author of Symphonic Repertoire for the Bass Clarinet