Though the pianist
and conductor here are new to me the orchestra is not, as of
late the Bambergers are being recorded with increased frequency.
Financially I’m sure it is good news for them, and they might
count themselves lucky given the state of the recording industry.
Artistically too, they’ve been gathering critical laurels from
most quarters for their activities under Jonathan Nott. Their
Mozart piano concerto series seems to have made somewhat less
of a splash.
The reasons why
are not hard to work out. The interpretation of both works is
considered rather than impetuous, pleasant rather than wholly
engaging. Beerman’s way with the works is plain, unadorned and
down to business. In this he misses much of the inner workings
of the orchestrations, making things less interesting than they
might have been. The booklet note waxes lyrically about his
experience and qualities – a pity that imagination seems to
be short on the list, but this might develop slightly with age.
In my experience though musical imagination is something you
either have or you don’t. However, nothing he does is distasteful,
vulgar or anti-Mozartian, so things might be worse. That goes
for the other chief areas of interest too: orchestra and soloist.
been doing the rounds of Continental musical centres too. I
would agree with the opinion quoted from Neue Zürcher Zeitung
on his “technical assuredness and transparency” of playing,
but not with that of Süddeutsche Zeitung in calling him a “Mozart
interpreter of the highest rank”. For me in both concertos too
many phrases go for nothing, and whilst the playing has a polish
and evenness appropriate for Mozart, it is hardly more special
than a decent graduate fresh from any self-respecting conservatoire
might produce. He goes through the motions rather than deliver
any special insights, which ultimately makes for an unmemorable
experience – something I never enjoy saying in connection with
All of this is a
shame, because reading the fairly enthusiastic booklet note
on the works one is fired up for a first rate performance that
delivers everything these do not. It’s averagely recorded to
my ears; the sound being clean and homogenised in a natural
acoustic, yet not particularly distinctive in any way.
Then there’s the
competition – any first rate recording and interpretation would
blow this down in a second. Given that more recordings of Mozart
concerti exist than I could wave a baton at, an industry that
once again is celebrating the arrival of the Mozart cash cow
must do better than this. Whereas other companies have back
catalogue riches to exploit, Arte Nova’s no doubt well intentioned
alternative is likely ever to remain a mere also-ran, exemplifying
the more miss than hit results they have often achieved. Nice
try, but no cigar.