Regis do their reputation no good here by misspelling Walter
Klien's surname no less than five times. As an Austrian, he
could have been a Klein, but he was in fact a Klien. Gramophone's
critic was unsure of the spelling when these recordings first
appeared in the early 1960s, but Regis have the benefit of half
a century of knowledge of his recordings and concerts. They
even repeat the error on their website. They have also transformed
the double Piano Concerto K.365 into K.535, which is actually
a Contredanse in C.
At any rate, these are old Vox LP recordings that have been
recycled many times, appearing in various reissues and commemorative
boxed sets over the last two or three decades. This particular
release has been considered here (near the bottom of the page): pace that reviewer's
assurances, recorded sound is not very good. (It’s also
reviewed as part of the Brilliant Classics Brendel Edition here) In K.453 the quality is rather tinny and wan, and there is distortion
in both channels - crackling in the left and squealing of woodwind
in the right - as well as added reverberation, although the
latter is probably nothing to do with Regis. There is also a
rather obvious editing join midway through the final movement.
The double Concerto is a little better overall, but still pretty
flat and with a slight but ever-present background hiss. The
double Sonata comes closest to acceptable quality, at least
once allowance is made for its age.
Those prepared to listen back through the fug of time will find
typically faithful, clean performances by Brendel and Klien
- expressive to a reasonable degree, with elegant phrasing and
attractive teamwork. It is fair to say that neither pianist
achieved their reputation for greatness playing Mozart. Nor
is Mozart at his very best in these concertos, although the
D major Sonata is one of his most brilliant accomplishments
in the genre.
The two sides of English-only notes go into fair if mechanical
detail about the works, but there is no mention of Brendel or
Klien, either biographically or with reference to these particular
In short, there is little value in this disc for Mozart fans.
Collectors of Brendel or Klien paraphernalia might give it some
consideration, but though the double Sonata K.448 is the one
that gave birth to the so-called "Mozart Effect" a few years
ago, truly smart people will realise that there are better bargains
to be had in the many boxed sets available.
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk
Byzantion refers to the poor sound on this disc compared to
previous incarnations without realising that those (Brilliant,
vox etc ) were officially licensed and taken from the original
vox masters and therefore bound to be superior to these somewhat
careless results from 50 year old LPs