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Friedrich Gulda — I Love Mozart and I Love Barbara
Friedrich Gulda plays Mozart;
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — Fantasia in D minor, K397, Sonata in F major K332, Fantasia in C minor K475, Sonata in C minor, K457, ‘Rosenarie’ from The Marriage of Figaro
Friedrich Gulda (piano)
Aria; Exercise No.9; Killer Joe; Stormy Weather Blues; Du und I
Friedrich Gulda (piano) and Barbara Dannerlein (organ, synthesizer)
rec. live, Munich Klaviersommer, 1990
Video director: Dieter Hens. Sound engineer: Martin Wieland
Sound format: PCM Stereo. Picture format: 4:3, Region Code: 0, DVD9 NTSC
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101 635 [94:00]

Experience Classicsonline

Friedrich Gulda, the maverick who faked his own death to laugh at the obituaries, sits in a tea cosy cum skullcap opposite Barbara Dannerlein, as resplendent as Nefertiti, her aquiline nose perched above the keyboard of her organ and synthesiser. The two musicians were united by a love of jazz that must have bordered, if not transgressed into the carnal. There is an intense if static physicality about their performance at the Munich Klaviersommer in 1990, of which this DVD is a souvenir.
Together they play five pieces. Aria with its effortless trills and richly romantic nineteenth-century ethos is a perplexing start for the unwary, but Exercise No.9 — a cousin of Brubeckian experimentation — launches jazz proper. His piano cuts through better than her keyboard, so that the improvisational onus is (acoustically at least) on Gulda. He was invariably one of those players derided by jazz musicians as a busking classical player, and by classical lovers as a dilettante. But he shows in Benny Golson’s Killer Joe, the ultimate Blues Vamp, that he has the chops for it, and Dannerlein, her red hair plaited under a golden headdress, plays a ‘bass’ solo on the pedals with adroit musicality. Her Stormy Weather Blues is a cooking and down-home number, the kind of thing that would do well in the steaming intimacy of a club. Gulda sings Du und I, a precarious, heartfelt ballad, something of a love song indeed, though he hasn’t Chet Baker’s special brand of otherworldly vocal fragility.
The first half of the concert had been devoted to Gulda’s Mozart. Gulda wears sweatshirt and violet skullcap. Violet colours flood the stage, and the pianist’s headgear sports floral motifs. Things are mellow, indeed almost groovy visually. The Fantasia in D minor and Sonata in F major exude a rather extrovert air, though the more athletic passages of the sonata’s finale imperil the microphone, which goes bouncing around. Gulda has chosen a characteristically interesting programme, rather mirror-facing two fantasias and two sonatas. Cleverly he juxtaposes the near contemporaneous Fantasia in C minor and the Sonata in C minor—in the same key, two Köchel numbers apart. He ends with the touching Rosenarie from The Marriage of Figaro, during which we see Dennerlein listening intently.
Is this an essential DVD? No. Can you live without it? Of course you can. Is it interesting? Yes.
Jonathan Woolf

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