Involving, as it does, three master musicians and a fine chamber orchestra this was never likely to be be other than rewarding. It may not correspond with the ways of playing Mozart at the beginning of the twenty-first century which are fashionable at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but it has virtues – such as high intelligence, sympathy, certainty of purpose, grace, alertness of interplay – which transcend questions of performance practice. Looking at the names of the pianists above, we might be surprised by the presence of Sir Georg Solti, so used are we to thinking of him as a conductor. But the young Solti appeared in public as a pianist from the age of twelve and went on to study piano in Budapest, with Dohnányi and Bartok.
Central to Hélène Grimaud's first live album for Deutsche Grammophon is the significance she finds in the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This movement is a touchstone for her, insofar as she regards it as the most sublime music, "where you find the real Mozart." She has also stated, "Even if this movement were all we had, that would be enough." Because of the emphasis Grimaud places on this poignant Adagio in F sharp minor, listeners may be tempted to cut to the chase and skip the other tracks to hear her interpretation.
Known for his intense, insightful interpretations of the classical repertoire, Rudolf Serkin was one of the great American pianists of the mid-century, and seldom was he more in his element than when playing Mozart. This new six-CD release unites for the first time fourteen Mozart concerto recordings made at the height of his career, between 1951 and 1977. His is not a raised-little-finger type of Mozart; it is rugged, has contour, and is a welcome relief from the pretty-pretty conceptions heard only too often , wrote Gramophone of a 1955 recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Schneider. With the same orchestra, Serkin is ideally matched (AllMusic Guide) with conductor George Szell; elsewhere he partners Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as Pablo Casals at the cellist-conductor s festival in Perpignan for No. 22 ( exultant and miraculous BBC Music Magazine). Recordings from the Marlboro Festival include the Concerto No. 10 for two pianos with his then-teenage son Peter Serkin.
This double-CD budget set brings together two performances by Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha, collaborating both times with Georg Solti as conductor. Each disc includes a pair of Mozart piano concertos. The music on the first CD, recorded in 1985, has never been released, because, the booklet asserts, post-production work was needed to clean up the acoustics.
This 9-disc set includes the mature solo piano concertos in performances by Andras Schiff and the Salzburg Camerata Academica under Sandor Vegh. The piano sound is notably more recessed than in other versions, giving more attention to the orchestral half of the musical dialog. Additionally, the Bosendorfer piano used by Schiff produces a sound that will not be confused with a modern Steinway.