Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Concertos: No. 8 in c; No. 9 in E?,
Mitsuko Uchida (pn); Jeffrey Tate, cond; English CO
PHILIPS 000868302 (54:31)
Beautifully recorded in the early 1990s and issued in 1992, and containing a sublime rendition of the so-called “Jeunehomme” concerto (which Clara Haskil called “my concerto”) as well as the earlier and less powerful K 246, these performances became something like instant classics. Uchida’s lively, precise style, her ability to play with both
zest and convincing lyricism, accounted for much of the effect. So did the vigorously compatible accompaniment of Jeffrey Tate, a compatibility that seems particularly important in as interactive a concerto as No. 9, K 271. Given the masterful performance found here of such a toweringly original work as K 271, it’s easy to skip by the performance of No. 8. (The three different annotators in three different languages more or less do.) Still, I find Uchida’s brisk style perfect for the harpsichord-like passages of the first movement of this earlier work, and her calm in the Andante equally pleasing. This is an innocent work, perhaps, but a lovely one that is played with due respect to its individual qualities.
Uchida is famous for the spunk and energy of her Mozart-playing, which is unlike the relatively placid, but appealing playing of Murray Perahia, also with the English Chamber Orchestra. I find her more aligned with the streamlined tension of Schnabel’s great performances. All are recommended.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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