One of the latest in Ivory’s 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
shouldn’t 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 soloists’
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 there’s 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 – agreed it’s an Allegro
molto, but this really is molto with a vengeance.
The sound varies
between performances and Ivory hasn’t been able to deal with
some of the high level hiss and, elsewhere, a certain dullness;
it’s a demerit certainly but I don’t think it will interfere
drastically in appreciating performances of energy, drama
and enjoyable finesse.