With this disc, we are
privileged to share delectable performances
of two of Mozartís piano concerti recorded
in the mid-1950s by Clara Haskil. An additional
bonus is that the orchestra is conducted
by Carl Schuricht. As far as Hänssler
is concerned, it is Schuricht who is top-billed
on this disc, but given the repertoire,
I would suggest that it should be the
other way round.
of the K459 is well known, having been
available for some time on a delectable
DG disc, with the Berlin Philharmonic,
conducted by Ferenc Fricsay. This is coupled
with the K595 concerto and is in early
stereo. If you have this disc then there
is absolutely no reason for you to go
for the Hänssler issue unless you
desperately want this coupling with the
K271 concerto, No. 9 in E Major.
Even this early concerto,
not as popular as the later concerti,
has also received two separate recordings
by Clara Haskil, the first by Philips
with the Lamoureux Orchestra conducted
by Markevitch, and another (live) performance
on Tahra with Eugen Jochum and the Bavarian
Radio Symphony Orchestra. I have not heard
this latter performance although the earlier
one is also very fine.
The repertoire certainly
does not stretch the interpretative skills
of Carl Schuricht who provides a very
competent accompaniment to both concerti.
The orchestra is also fine without having
the tonal splendour of the Berlin Philharmonic,
or for that matter, the Lamoureux Orchestra.
Haskilís playing is a
model of how Mozart concerti should be
played with delicacy and grace, backed
up with power when needed.
The final element in
the equation is the recording quality,
and it is here that the current disc fails
against the competitive versions. The
overall sound is somewhat plummy, although
it is clear enough to hear what is going
on. Hänssler also list these recordings
as DDD, which clearly is ridiculous Ė
Again, compared with
the competitive versions, this release
fails to compete successfully, and the
accompaniment is not outstanding enough
for it to cut the mustard. Given a total
playing time of only 57 minutes, this
disc does not deliver value for money,
so I donít see who would really want it.
The performances are superb though, so
anyone wanting this combination can purchase
safely, sure that they will hear excellent
accounts of both works.
The only problem with
this release is that it is not competitive
with Haskilís own recordings of the same
I am not sure whether
these competitive versions are available
Ė all I can say is that they are listed
in the RED listings, so you should be
able to find these competitive issues.