A Grab Bag of Mozart Piano Concertos
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 09/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD features three Mozart piano concerti played by three different pianists, three different orchestras, three different conductors, in three different halls. All the performances are acceptable, none is incandescent, and probably none are must-haves except for Mozart concerto completists.
Mitsuko Uchida plays the 'Jeunehomme' concerto, No. 9 in E Flat, K271 with the Mozarteum Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate. It is recorded in the beautiful Mozarteum in Salzburg. This is not one of Mozart's strongest concerti, although the middle movement can be touching, the final movement a romp. Certainly in this performance the final movement romps. Well, actually it rushes like a late commuter hurrying to get to the last train home. I honestly think Uchida, who set the tempo, plays it too fast. But she plays it cleanly, at least. Distracting, as always with Uchida, is her mooning and swooning grimacing. And she's in a really ugly dress, too.
Vladimir Ashkenazy plays and conducts the Royal Philharmonic in the Concerto No. 12 in A, K414, in the Hampton Court Palace before a small but appreciative audience. This is a well-nigh perfect performance. I love the way Ashkenazy brings out certain felicities in Mozart's marvelous orchestration, e.g., the viola figure at phrase ends of the first movement's second theme. The RPO play gorgeously. Sound in this and the Uchida is very good.
Homero Francesch plays the 'Coronation' concerto, No. 26 in D Major, K537, with Gerd Albrecht conducting the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, in the Christian-Zais-Saal in Wiesbaden. The sound level is discernibly lower in this recording and more than a little murky. The performance is OK but not particularly remarkable. It doesn't help that the 'Coronation,' while late in Mozart's output, it not one of his best. Francesch, a Swiss pianist not nearly as well known as the other two pianists, is a fine artist but his playing is a bit subdued.
These three videographed performances were recorded in 1989 and 1990 but I don't know if they have ever appeared before in any other format but this DVD.
TT=95 mins; PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
Thorleif Berntsen | 10/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like Mozart and who doesn't the three pianist featured on this disk are among most skilled and passionate interpreters of piano music in general and there performances here will not disappoint."