One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Buy through MusicWeb from £14.30/15.10/15.60 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K453 (1784) [32:07]
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 (1785) [31:25]
Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto/Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano).
rec. live, Wiener Konzerthaus, 23-24 October 2003. DDD
EXTON OVCL-00170 [62:33]

There is a sort of déjà vu associated with new issues of Ashkenazy in Mozart, given his long association with this composer, and especially his Decca recordings with the Philharmonia. I particularly treasure an LP of his No. 22, a big-boned reading that, at the time in my development when I bought it, struck me as just right. Here he is in two well contrasting works with a much less well known, Italian, orchestra recorded live in Vienna and issued on a Japanese label.

Ashkenazy's tone is instantly recognisable still, light, clean and ever so slightly hard. His musicality is intact, indeed constant, over the years. Staccato is light and never once is there a hint of pedal smudge. Yet it is the orchestra that sounds more engaged, to my ears, than the pianist himself. Ashkenazy comes closest to taking off in the cadenza, which is technically impeccable; but he still holds back at the last minute.

The orchestra begins the slow movement with amazing finesse. Textures are superbly weighted and there is a real sense of concentration. The piano entry finds Ashkenazy, this time, matching his accompanists. If some difficulties in the low winds reflect the live provenance, this remains a wonderfully delicate reading. The last movement begins in sprightly fashion, although arguably too speedily for an Allegretto - one has to leave room for the coda to make its mark There is much grace, however, and Ashkenazy even allows himself a mini-cadenza, more extended than one often hears, immediately prior to the closing pages.

This is not the only Mozart 20 that this orchestra has recorded. On a Warner Elatus issue, Argerich gives us this concerto while Richter, no less, plays No. 25 (0927 467402). Here, they capture the stormy D minor mood well, while Ashkenazy allows himself a little more romantic leeway in his phrasing; just a hint, but enough to make it matter. High strings start to sound a little shrill here in the louder dynamics, but caveats are balanced by the cadenza. This Ashkenazy launches into with a vengeance, trills abuzz, leading to a remarkably dramatic display. Only the very end is a bit careful, making it absolutely clear to the orchestra when to re-enter..

The slow movement seems to have a lot of Don Giovanni-like guts about it in its stormier sections, portions which link to the determined mood of the finale. Here lies the most involving playing of the entire disc, but it was still not enough to fully engage the listener.

The disc is a CD/SACD/SACD five-channel hybrid. The sound is spectacularly clean - matching Ashkenazy's playing, it could be argued - and the disc as a whole acts as an indicator of what relatively recent Ashkenazy sounds like in Mozart. No clear first recommendations here, though.

Colin Clarke


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3


Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.