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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Concerto for two pianos K365 (1775-77) [24:48]
Sonata in F major for piano duet K497 [23:39]
Sonata in D major for two pianos K448 (1781) [21:39]
Earl Wild and Zaidee Parkinson (pianos)
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Richard Dufallo
rec. Kingway Hall, London, November 1975
IVORY CLASSICS 76002 [71:00]
Experience Classicsonline

One of the latest in Ivoryís enticing Earl Wild reissue series returns this ex-RCA (originally a 2 LP) Mozart disc to the catalogue. It was recorded in London, at the Kingsway Hall, in August 1975 and teamed Wild with the young Zaidee Parkinson, who was at the time married to the conductor of K365, Richard Dufallo.

Dufallo is better known as a modern music maven and Wild is not especially known for his Mozart so the sessions could have been hazardous stylistically. In the event they turned out well. The Concerto was once famously recorded by those titans of the keyboard Emil Gilels and Yakov Zak with the USSR State Orchestra under Kirill Kondrashin, a recording now restored on APR 5664 Early post-war vintage it may have been, with correspondingly dodgy sonics, but it was a reading of tremendous personality and strength with some astoundingly entertaining and anonymous cadenzas. One shouldnít expect the Wild-Parkinson-Dufallo triumvirate to replicate the ethos of that reading of course; theirs is an altogether more genial performance though the conductor does tend to favour some acerbic string tone from the National Philharmonic Orchestra, an ad-hoc band that could turn on sumptuous heft when required, as other recordings have shown.

The slightly brittle sound contrasts rather productively with the two soloistsí congenial, vital and imaginative duo playing. Ensemble is fine, the slow movement is poetically inflected and well coloured and all concerned take an energetic tempo in the finale.

The two sonatas fare attractively as well. K497 sports a very slow Adagio introduction and thereís plenty of limpid refinement in the Andante. The companion work in D major, K448, is the more exuberant, though controlled with intelligence and finely honed architectural principles. The central movement is spun with elegant restraint and by the time we reach the finale things are ready to rip. They set a very challenging tempo Ė agreed itís an Allegro molto, but this really is molto with a vengeance.

The sound varies between performances and Ivory hasnít been able to deal with some of the high level hiss and, elsewhere, a certain dullness; itís a demerit certainly but I donít think it will interfere drastically in appreciating performances of energy, drama and enjoyable finesse.

Jonathan Woolf 



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