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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Brilliant Classics

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Piano Concertos - Complete
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord and clavichord
Derek Han, piano
Philharmonia Orchestra, Paul Freeman
Also available as "Mozart Complete Works Volume 4," Brilliant Classics 99720
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92112 [approx. 11 hours 25 min.]

CD1 Total time: 62.23
Concertos for Harpsichord, 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, KV 107 Nos 1-2-3
After Johann Christian Bach Op. 5 Nos. 2-3-4
Concerto No 1 in D KV 107 No. 1
1. Allegro 5.24
2. Andante 4.02
3. Tempo di Menuetto (Cadenzas by W.A. Mozart) 3.59
Concerto in G KV 107 No. 2
4. Allegro 4.18
5. Allegretto (tema con 4 variazioni) (Cadenzas by Pieter-Jan Belder) 5.27
Concerto in Eb KV 107 No. 3
6. Allegro 5.35
7. Allegretto (Cadenzas by Pieter-Jan Belder) 3.05
Johann Christian BACH (1735 - 1782)

'Sonates pour le Clavecin ou Piano Forte' Opus 5
Sonata in D Op. 5 No. 2
8. Allegro di molto 4.34
9. Andante di molto 3.16
10. Minuetto 3.50
Sonata in G Op. 5 No. 3
11. Allegro 5.10
12. Allegretto 5.27
Sonata in E Op. 5 No. 4
13. Allegro 4.53
14. Rondeau, allegretto 3.21
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord and clavichord
Recording: June 2001, Maria Minor Utrecht Doopsgezinde Kerk Deventer
Producer and engineer: Arts Music Recording Rotterdam
Musica Amphion: Remy Baudet, Marten Boeken, baroque violins; Margaret Urquhart, double bass
Instruments: Mozart: Harpsichord built by Cornelis Bom (1999) after Ruckers
J.C. Bach: Clavichord, built by Cornelis Bom (1992) after Hass
CD2 Total time: 69.29
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)

Piano Concerto No. 24 in c K491
1. Allegro 13.28
2. Larghetto 7.36
3. Allegretto 8.20
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D K40 (arr. from music by Honauer, Eckard, J. C. Bach)
4. Allegro maestoso 4.58
5. Andante 4.37
6. Presto 3.33
Piano Concerto No. 13 in C K415
7. Allegro 10.26
8. Andante 7.52
9. Allegro 7.48
CD3 Total time: 71.32
Piano Concerto No. 15 in Bb K450
1. Allegro 11.00
2. Adagio 5.17
3. Allegro assai 7.42
Piano Concerto No. 11 in F K413
4. Allegro 9.10
5. Larghetto 7.34
6. Tempo di menuetto 5.10
Piano Concerto No. 23 in A K488
7. Allegro 10.44
8. Andante 6.13
9. Allegro 7.58
CD4 Total time: 79.31
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C K467, 'Elvira Madigan'
1. Allegro 14.33
2. Andante 6.26
3. Allegro vivace assai 7.22
Piano Concerto No. 1 in F K37 (arr. from music by Raupach, ?, and Honauer)
4. Allegro 5.15
5. Andante 5.30
6. Allegro 5.44
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C K503
7. Allegro maestoso 17.21
8. Andante 7.20
9. Allegretto 9.58
CD5 Total time: 66.57
Piano Concerto No. 9 in Eb K271 'Jeunehomme'
1. Allegro 10.19
2. Andantino 10.10
3. Rondeau, presto 9.15
Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb K39 (arr. from music by Raupach and Schobert)
4. Allegro spiritoso 5.25
5. Andante staccato 3.48
6. Molto allegro 3.35
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A K414
7. Allegro 9.49
8. Andante 7.23
9. Rondeau, allegretto 6.51
CD6 Total time: 71.55
Piano Concerto No. 17 in G K453
1. Allegro 12.22
2. Andante 9.50
3. Allegretto, presto 8.00
Piano Concerto No. 5 in D K175
4. Allegro 8.07
5. Andante ma un poco adagio 7.22
6. Allegro 5.07
Piano Concerto No. 6 in Bb K238
7. Allegro aperto 7.22
8. Andante un poco adagio 5.32
9. Rondeau, allegro 7.26
CD7 total time: 72.58
Piano Concerto No. 16 in D K451
1. Allegro assai 10.50
2. Andante 5.45
3. Rondo, allegro di molto 7.06
Piano Concerto No. 8 in C K246
4. Allegro aperto 7.25
5. Andante 7.11
6. Tempo di menuetto 7.03
Piano Concerto No. 19 in F K459
7. Allegro 11.40
8. Allegretto 7.19
9. Allegro assai 7.47
CD8 total time: 65.22
Piano Concerto No. 20 in d K466
1. Allegro 13.50
2. Romanze 8.22
3. Allegro assai 7.42
Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb K482
4. Allegro 13.54
5. Andante 8.48
6. Allegro 12.16
CD9 total time: 61.54
Piano Concerto No. 18 in Bb K456
1. Allegro vivace 12.27
2. Andante un poco sostenuto 9.34
3. Allegro vivace 7.58
Piano Concerto No. 26 in D K537 'Coronation Concerto'
4. Allegro 14.23
5. Larghetto 6.03
6. Allegretto 10.52
CD10 total time: 64.44
Piano Concerto No. 14 in Eb K449
1. Allegro vivace 8.47
2. Andantino 6.19
3. Allegro ma non troppo 6.08
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G K41 (arr. from music by Honauer and Raupach)
4. Allegro 4.58
5. Andante 3.49
6. Molto allegro 3.40
Piano Concerto No. 27 in Bb K595
7. Allegro 14.06
8. Larghetto 6.51
9. Rondo, allegro 9.14
Recording: Henry Wood Hall, London 1993
Recording producer/engineer: Judith Sherman/Mike Hatch
Derek Han, piano
Philharmonia Orchestra, Paul Freeman
CD11 Total time: 63.52
Concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra in Eb KV 365
1. Allegro 9.43
2. Andante 8.11
3. Rondo, allegro 6.48
Concerto for 3 pianos and orchestra in F KV 242
4. Allegro 7.47
5. Adagio 8.45
6. Rondo, tempo di minuetto 5.36
7. Rondo, for piano and orchestra in D KV 382 8.39
8. Rondo, for piano and orchestra in A KV 386 7.54
Licensed from Hungaroton (1-6)
Licensed from Edel Classics GmbH, Germany (7-8)


See also http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Dec01/Mozart4.htm

Comparison Recordings of Mozart Piano Concerti:

Daniel Barenboim, Berlin PO: #26 and 27 Warner Elatus 2564 60679-2
Roderick Simpson, Suoni Asaggiati: #5 Initium A 007
Rubinstein, Krips, Wallenstein. "Rubinstein Collection Vol. 61" RCA 63061
Murray Perahia, ECO (complete) Sony 46441

This is the same set as previously reviewed by my esteemed MusicWeb colleague Kirk McElhearn, here repackaged with a new number. As can be seen, it consists of four recordings boxed together.

First I will discuss the complete numbered solo piano concertos performed by Derek Han accompanied by Paul Freeman and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Overall, these performances are excellent. Try, for instance, #5, the earliest work which consists entirely of original Mozart music. The rich orchestral texture with bold brass fanfares is beautifully presented and recorded and Hanís technique is bright and youthful. Simpson has made an extensive study of this work and his recording restores the original orchestration while giving us a new cadenza, and Han/Freeman achieve similar results.

And with the much later #20 in d, the most popular of all Mozartís piano concertos the full orchestral textures and tragic mood are fully manifest. Of course with a work as often recorded as this everyone will have his or her favourite version (mine remains the Artur Rubinstein performance with Josef Krips, with honourable mention going to Serkin/Abbado, the second and third movements only) but this Derek Han version will probably be almost everybodyís close second. It avoids inappropriate excess romanticism and is clearly and cleanly played and recorded without any thinness.

The superlative Barenboim recording of the last two concerti is remarkable for its perfect balance of sound and style; Barenboimís cadenzas are interesting if a little blatant in their quotations from The Marriage of Figaro. By comparison, Han/Freeman play with a little less assurance, but with more youthful enthusiasm. Han/Freemanís orchestral perspective has the piano closer which also adds a sense of immediacy, making the Barenboim with its very realistic concert hall acoustic sound by comparison more remote, more formal.

The piano concerto "#7" is remarkable in being for three pianos, and in that the "third" piano part is very simple, which fact no doubt led Mozart to merge it into the other two piano parts and write out a version for two pianos which has the same K number. The original three piano version is here performed here by Zoltan Kocsis, Dezsö Ranki, and András Schiff and the Hungarian State Orchestra conducted by János Ferencsik. The other concerto on this disk was originally written for two pianos and is "#10" in the complete series, here performed by Zoltan Kocsis and Dezsö Ranki, accompanied as above. Kocsis and Schiff are among the very finest of pianists and Ferencsik also has many, many fine recordings to his credit. Then, why are these performances so uninvolving? Sometimes such things are utterly unspecifiable. I am reminded of another recording of a Mozart Piano Concerto by world famous artists where the first movement doesnít work at all, whereas the second and third are among the finest versions of the work ever played; and there, as here, one is mystified to explain it. The best I can suggest is that the problems come from the pianos being recorded too close and the orchestra sounding distant, choppy, and monotonous, with too many missed opportunities for the soloists and orchestra to trade phrases and sing to each other, so it may be mostly the recording engineersí fault. The recording is remarkably clear and the stereo separation exemplary; if you are a pianist memorising these piano parts you couldnít have a better recording to work with.

The concert rondos are here performed by Annerose Schmidt accompanied by the Dresden Philharmonia conducted by Kurt Masur. Each of these was probably conceived as an alternate movement for one of the earlier concerti, K 382 for K 175, and K 386 for K414, and hence shame on Han/Freeman for not including them in his series as did, for example, Murray Perahia and Mitsuko Uchida/Jeffrey Tate. Indeed K 382 is one of Mozartís most popular and frequently heard works. However Schmidt and Masur give us fine performances, probably even a little better than would be performances by Han and Freeman, so we have nothing whatever to complain about.

Lastly, we come to the first works in this set, the very early orchestrations of the J. C. Bach Sonatas. These works, along with the numbered concerti 1 through 4, belong in Mozartís catalogue of arrangements along with his orchestration of Handelís Messiah, his string versions of Bach keyboard fugues. They are clearly Baroque trio sonatas, but they just as clearly look forward to the Classical era to come. Fascinating, charming works they could not be better played or recorded than here, especially as accompanied by excellent clavichord performances of the original sonatas. This disk is a must-have for any serious Mozart collector and it appears that this disk is currently not available in any other format

Paul Shoemaker

 



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