Although a leading
pianist in Germany who has toured throughout
the world, Matthias Kirschnereit is
relatively unknown outside his native
land. Born in Westphalia, Kirschnereit
studied under Professor Kretschmar-Fischer
at the Detmold Music Academy and also
learnt from Claudio Arrau, Bruno Leonardo
Gelber, Oleg Maisenberg and Murray Perahia.
Kirschnereit has appeared in many of
the important European concert halls
and recently had successful debuts with
the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra
Budapest. He has also been closely associated
with the field of chamber music through
Christian Tetzlaff and the Artemis Quartet.
In addition to his Mozart recordings,
Kirschnereit has recorded for Arte Nova
a disc of Mendelssohnís solo piano music
and a disc of early piano music by Brahms.
Volume 5 of Kirschnereitís
Mozart series is my first exposure to
his artistry, and I am entirely smitten
with the performance of the Concerto
in F major that reveals a pianist who
is a perfect fit with Mozartís warm
and loving utterances. However, the
requirements of the Concerto in E flat
major call for a more diverse musical
approach, and Kirschnereit doesnít quite
measure up to the strong competition
from other recordings.
compelling traits are the gentleness
and warmth he communicates. This is
most evident in the F major Concerto,
one of three piano concertos that Mozart
wrote during the winter of 1782-83.
The F major is Mozart in his most gracious
and warm attire, even the fast outer
movements exuding a high degree of security,
subtlety and love. Kirschnereit captures
these qualities to perfection as well
as conveying all the exuberance inherent
in the work.
From the beginning
of the F major Concertoís 1st
Movement orchestral introduction, Frank
Beermann and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
also have the full measure of the musicís
vitality and rhythmic lift. I love how
Kirschnereit quietly enters before the
conclusion of the introduction, and
the warm energy he releases throughout
the 1st Movement is enchanting.
The performance of
the 2nd Movement Larghetto
might raise some eyebrows. Itís significantly
quicker than the norm, and I must admit
that the pacing is faster than we traditionally
associate with a Larghetto marking.
However, after spending some time with
Kirschnereitís brisk gait that makes
no sacrifice of tenderness, other versions
such as from Andras Schiff on Decca
now sound a little dreary. I should
point out that the 2nd movement
is the only one on the disc where tempos
are beyond the usual boundaries, and
Kirschnereit delivers a highly vibrant
interpretation warranting the deviation
from the norm.
Movement is marked "Tempo di Minuetto"
and is one of Mozartís less exuberant
final movements amongst his piano concertos.
Instead of great vitality, Mozart invests
this with a subtlety and affection that
Kirschnereit again conveys beautifully.
The Concerto in E flat
major is quite different in a few respects
from the F major. Mozart uses a greater
array of orchestral resources, employing
two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns,
two trumpets and timpani. Another difference
is that the E flat majorís 3rd
movement Rondo is one of Mozartís most
exuberant and carefree pieces of music.
Lastly and most significant, the 2nd
movement Adagio is a bleak and desperate
piece in contrast to the warm and fuzzy
feelings given off by the F majorís
and company do not meet the highest
standards for the last two movements
of the Concerto in E flat major. The
tempo for the Adagio is a bit quick
to fully convey the musicís dark intentions,
and neither pianist nor orchestra offers
the tremendous enthusiasm of the Rondo
that can be found in many other versions
including the Barenboim on EMI. Essentially,
the warm and loving touch that works
so well in the F major Concerto does
not pay great dividends in the more
diverse E flat major Concerto.
Given the super-budget
pricing of Arte Nova discs, I definitely
recommend Volume 5 for the wonderful
performance of the Concerto in F major.
If the prime reason for purchasing the
disc is to listen to the more popular
Concerto in E flat major, I advise looking
elsewhere. Kirschnereitís affectionate
approach does not carry well when the
strongest statements of angst and exhilaration
are needed. Assuming this fine young
pianist turns the corner and starts
widening his emotional content, we could
some day be looking at a potent musical