Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21 in
C, K467 [27:22] Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat,
Jonathan Biss (piano) Orpheus Chamber Orchestra rec. concert, 15-16 March 2008,
Lefrak Concert Hall, QueensCollege, Flushing, New York
EMI CLASSICS 2172702 [61:07]
It would be nonsense to say that Mozart showed a weakness in any
genre in which he chose to write, but it is in the piano concertos
that we experience some of his most profound thinking, his most
lyrical melodies and some of his most gregarious humor. The works
presented here are two of the biggies, and EMI have trotted out
another in their seemingly unending string of young artists to
team up with New Yorkís
exemplary Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to give us a very satisfying
Biss is a wonderfully able technician, and he sails through
the intricacies of these two mature works with ease. The opening
movement of K467 is stately and well paced, and Mr. Bissís tone
is one of shimmering beauty and crystal clarity. The often over-ripe
ďElvira MadiganĒ theme is played with operatic elegance, and
with the utmost taste. I did find, however, that the rondo was,
although quite cleanly played, a bit breathless. Mr. Biss didnít
miss a note, but the lightening pace he chose had me sitting
on chairís edge hoping that everyone would meet at the end.
For the record, they did.
meaty K482 receives a very well balanced and stately performance.
Of particular merit is the simply stunning playing from the
winds in the second movement. This at times soaring and at others
achingly heart wrenching theme and variations is given a masterful
performance. The finale contains some of Mozartís most joyful
music. One can just imagine him sitting at the piano and ripping
through this jolly little tune with Tom Hulceís wicked little
smile plastered across his face.
is a nice thing to hear these oft-recorded works approached
with such fresh and youthful vitality. Recorded sound is alive
and present, and Mr. Bissís program essay is thoughtful and
delightfully lacking in academic blather. Instead, we get a
nice insight into Mozartís mindset and the structure of the
music. This is most definitely a winner. Playing like this encourages
me to explore Mr Biss in his recent Beethoven recordings.
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