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Decca Phase 4
Piano Concerto No.22 in E flat, K482 (1785) [35:49]
Piano Concerto No.23 in A, K488 (1786) [26:14]
(piano and director)/English Chamber Orchestra
rec. 26-27 November 1971, 1-2 January 1967, EMI Abbey Road
Studio 1. ADD
FOR PLEASURE 5218682 [62:13]
with Barenboim, Géza Anda recorded a set of Mozart’s Piano
Concertos with the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum
for Deutsche Grammophon. Those performances are now available
in a boxed set at bargain price (469 5102). I mention this
because when these two sets of recordings were appearing
I was a penniless student and economies had to be made so
I could only afford one set and I went for Anda. Therefore,
for over thirty years the Barenboim set has remained unheard
to me, until now and the arrival of this marvellous disk.
a bigger view of these two works than Anda and the recording
is much more forward than the DG version. However, what really
matters is the music-making and I can report delight at Barenboim’s
interpretations. K482, with its large windband, is
given a big, forthright, performance, more 19th than
18th century but this is big music and the work
can take this kind of approach. Here is Mozart at the height
of his powers in the making of concertos and revelling in
his abilities. The same could be said of Barenboim. As with
any performance which is keyboard-led the ensemble is very
fine, with the interplay between soloist and band a real
joy to hear. In the first movement, Barenboim uses his own
cadenza - perhaps a little too modern to be thought of as
truly Mozartean, but then the same could be said of Edwin
Fischer’s cadenza for the third movement (which is abridged).
Who are we to disagree with anything Fischer did on behalf
of Mozart? It is a small point and it won’t really disturb
you, such is Barenboim’s advocacy.
justly famous for its easy-going lyricism and simple joy
of life. Barenboim is, perhaps, ever so slightly hard-edged
in his approach to this work. I would have welcomed a little
more relaxation from time to time. However, like its companion,
this is music-making of the highest order.
The English Chamber
Orchestra is on top form and work well with the soloist.
There’s some lovely wind-playing and the string sound is
smooth and warm. Overall, the recorded sound is first rate,
clear, spacious, natural and well balanced. I feel that what
we have here is the original sound and little cleaning up
was required for this reissue.
I don’t want
to be without my Géza Anda set but this is a marvellous companion
issue. I shall certainly be looking out for other issues
in Barenboim’s set. The disk is well presented, with few
notes, but good ones. The front of the booklet has a rather
lovely coloured aquatint of Vienna’s Kohlmarkt as Mozart
would have known it.
These are performances
which are well worth having, and at the price constitute
a real bargain.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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