One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595 (1791) [28:45]
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 (1785) [31:20]
Maria João Pires (piano)
Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
rec. September 2011, Auditorium Teatro Manzoni, Bologna, Italy & Auditorium, Bolzano, Italy
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0075 [60:16]

There are still eight months left before I have to choose my Recordings of the Year but I already have a cast-iron certainty for my 2013 list.
 
Lisbon-born Maria João Pires and Milanese conductor Claudio Abbado have been collaborating on and off for forty years. Pires clearly has a special affinity for Mozart’s music and has been playing Mozart concertos publicly since the age of seven. In a long career Abbado has recorded a substantial number of Mozart works including some with his handpicked Orchestra Mozart of which he is artistic director. On some occasions they play using period instruments. Their 2007 Bologna Archiv Produktion recording of the Violin Concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with baroque violinist Giuliano Carmignola used period instruments. On the present Deutsche Grammophon disc period instruments are not used and Pires plays a glorious modern Grand piano. 
Mozart was to die within a year of completing his Piano Concerto No. 27. At its 1791 première in Vienna it is said that Mozart, a formidable pianist himself, directed from the piano. Typical of scores composed towards the end of a composer’s life this beautiful work is often described of having an “autumnal” quality. The opening Allegro at over thirteen minutes is marked by crisp and vibrant playing. Pires’ lightness of touch is remarkable with everything sounding fresh and invigorating. Abbado’s direction reveals plenty of detail and colour. Pires is ravishingly tender in the serene Larghetto. The strings sound as if they have been dipped in gold. The Rondo is buoyant and airy and striking for Pires’ concentration and effortless technique.
 
The Piano Concerto No. 20 comes from an extraordinarily productive period. Mozart felt settled in Vienna and that was where as soloist he gave the première of the score. This is the first of only two such piano concertos that he composed in a minor key. Pires chooses to use Beethoven’s cadenzas. In the opening Allegro I was stuck by the vibrant orchestral accompaniment while Pires demonstrates her innate control and profound musicality. With its much repeated opening theme the Romanze is gloriously rendered. Pires’s playing in the finale matches exuberance with clean articulation.
 
The Deutsche Grammophon engineers have provided satisfyingly close and well balanced sound at the service of these breathtaking performances. Pires’ unmannered playing is crisp and fluid with everything sounding natural and effortless. An astonishing meeting of minds.  

Michael Cookson
 

Masterwork Index: Mozart Concerto 20 ~~ Concerto 27