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Mozart: Piano Concertos No 9 & 19, Etc / Clara Haskil, Et Al

Release Date: 06/26/2007 
Label:  Medici Masters   Catalog #: 4   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Clara Haskil
Conductor:  Otto AckermannFerenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Flawless, perfectly expressive … even the inferior sound does little to damage this priceless pianism.

Charles Chaplin declared that he had met only three geniuses in his life: Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Clara Haskil. Practically worshipped in her later years, Ms. Haskil suffered for most of her life from everything from a painful spinal condition to crippling self-doubt. Fellow Rumanian Dinu Lipatti was her ardent champion. His early death left Haskil grief-stricken - she was secretly in love with him - and without a mentor. In spite of all these negative circumstances, Haskil would go down in history as a goddess amongst pianists; a woman capable of a musical passion and elegance practically unequalled by
Read more her peers and a classicist of the highest refinement.

Such plaudits are well in evidence in these 1950s vintage recordings of Mozart. This is playing of such pristine clarity that in spite of the somewhat muddy monaural sound, the listener is instantly drawn in and held captive. Passage work is perfect, each note a pearl on a strand. Phrases are nuanced to marble smoothness.

Neither is Haskil afraid of a little drama. More turbulent passages are played with flare. Ms. Haskil always has the reins well in hand though, never letting emotion get the better of a firm sense of classical order and discipline. Slow movements are played with love and tenderness, but there is never the slightest hint of overt romanticism. Each melody evokes the rising of the sun in the morning; each cadence is perfectly placed. It is as though she composed each phrase herself, first sketching her thoughts, then carefully revising and refining her ideas, and then committing them to the page only when they had been perfected.

Both Otto Ackermann and Ferenc Fricsay provide well-balanced and sensitive accompaniments, but it is in the sound of the orchestra that the inferior sound quality becomes most obvious. Textures are blurred by the less that clear sound and at times the boxiness becomes a bit tiring. Nonetheless, these are performances of such grace and beauty from the soloist that I have found myself returning to these performances again and again, not only for enjoyment, but also for instruction.

This is a series that seems to be more about the performers than the music itself, and as such the booklet note by the always able Bryce Morrison is somewhat skimpy on information about the works at hand. No matter, really. His compassionate yet honest assessment of Haskil as a person and artist is insightful and lends even more enjoyment to her nearly flawless playing.

There are really not enough superlatives for this recording. Any music-lover at any level should find something at which to marvel here.

-- Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 9 in E flat major, K 271 "Jeunehomme" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Clara Haskil (Piano)
Conductor:  Otto Ackermann
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Salzburg, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/11/1954 
Venue:  Live  Studio 1, WDR, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 30 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: The cadenzas in this selection are by Mozart. 
Concerto for Piano no 19 in F major, K 459 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Clara Haskil (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/30/1952 
Venue:  Live  Studio 1, WDR, Cologne, Germany 
Length: 26 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: The cadenzas in this selection are by Mozart. 
Variations (9) for Piano in D major on a Minuet by Duport, K 573 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Clara Haskil (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Potsdam, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/07/1956 
Venue:  Live  Besançon Festival, Besançon, France 
Length: 10 Minutes 38 Secs. 

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