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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Keyboard Concertos: Volume 7

Piano Concerto No. 9 in Eb K.271 (1777) [31.43]
Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K.453 (1784) [29.47]
Matthias Kirschnereit, piano
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra - Bavarian State Philharmonic Orchestra/Frank Beermann
Recorded at Sinfonie an der Regnitz, Bamberg, Germany, 21 July 2004
Notes in Deustch and English. Photos of artists. Sponsored by Miele
ARTE NOVA 82876 64008 2 [61.32]

Comparison Recordings:
Philip Han, Paul Freeman, Philh. O. Brilliant Classics Box 92112
K.453, Murray Perahia, ECO CBS MK 36686
K.453, Artur Rubinstein, Wallenstein, RCA SO RCA 63061

When I was a teenager, apart from Artur Rubinsteinís recording of No. 21 and Ingrid Haeblerís No. 13, I didnít at all like Mozart piano concerti. Artists tended to miniaturise them and recording engineers provided distant, monotonous, uninvolving recorded sound. In the last decades these works have literally exploded with brilliant, exciting recordings, and here we have another series which promises to be exceptional.

By all reports when Mozart played his sonatas and concertos he paid scant attention to what he had written on the page, adding frills, trills, cadenzas and extra notes at will. This delighted the audience while driving his page-turner and the orchestra mad. In contemporary performances and recordings, however, the literal note from the master is observed as holy writ and no one dares depart from it, except in some cases to perpetuate bad habits of interpretation learned from generations of teachers.

No one but Matthias Kirschnereit, that is. He has fun with this music by adding an ornament here and there, departing a tiny bit from the written text, now and then slipping just slightly off the beat, all in the service of the lyrical phrase and the vigorous ritornello. On the other hand he uses Mozartís cadenzas and carefully observes Mozartís distinction among various kinds of ornaments in the scores something many other soloists neglect to do. Thus he produces what is probably a much more authentic performance, much more like the way Mozart would have played, than some others do. You can find out more about Kirschnereit at www.matthias-kirschnereit.de

The conductor also observes precisely Mozartís notation in regard ornaments, and also the correct balance between winds and strings within the orchestra, these in contrast to some recent recordings, even some marked "original instruments." In addition orchestra and conductor provide an interesting, colourful, transparent, but firm support for the soloist. It is difficult to find words for the delight I feel when hearing this orchestraís crisp and delightful Mozart sound.

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra has a double name, but is one orchestra, having recently been honoured by the State of Bavaria with the extra title.

My observation just on the basis of this disk is that Matthias Kirschnereit ranks, along with Christian Zacharias, as the finest Mozart piano concerto pianist of this age. Although Zacharias has recorded many of the concertos with various conductors and orchestra, his complete concerto series on MDG as soloist and conductor has been stalled at "volume 1" for several years now, whereas Kirschnereit is set to release "volume 6" in this series soon. So, this series may actually be completed and if so, on the evidence of this disk, even in comparison with the illustrious names listed at the beginning of this review, it has the potential to be the finest cycle of Mozart Piano concertos ever recorded.

Paul Shoemaker

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