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Mozart: Piano Concertos No 21 & 22 / Jonathan Biss

Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 17270   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jonathan Biss
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Thoughtful and transcendent playing. A winner on all counts.

It would be nonsense to say that Mozart showed a weakness in any genre in which he chose to write, but it is in the piano concertos that we experience some of his most profound thinking, his most lyrical melodies and some of his most gregarious humor. The works presented here are two of the biggies, and EMI have trotted out another in their seemingly unending string of young artists to team up with New York’s exemplary Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to give us a very satisfying performance indeed.

Jonathan Biss is a wonderfully able technician, and he sails through the intricacies of these two mature works with ease. The opening movement of K467 is
Read more stately and well paced, and Mr. Biss’s tone is one of shimmering beauty and crystal clarity. The often over-ripe “Elvira Madigan” theme is played with operatic elegance, and with the utmost taste. I did find, however, that the rondo was, although quite cleanly played, a bit breathless. Mr. Biss didn’t miss a note, but the lightening pace he chose had me sitting on chair’s edge hoping that everyone would meet at the end. For the record, they did.

The meaty K482 receives a very well balanced and stately performance. Of particular merit is the simply stunning playing from the winds in the second movement. This at times soaring and at others achingly heart wrenching theme and variations is given a masterful performance. The finale contains some of Mozart’s most joyful music. One can just imagine him sitting at the piano and ripping through this jolly little tune with Tom Hulce’s wicked little smile plastered across his face.

It is a nice thing to hear these oft-recorded works approached with such fresh and youthful vitality. Recorded sound is alive and present, and Mr. Biss’s program essay is thoughtful and delightfully lacking in academic blather. Instead, we get a nice insight into Mozart’s mindset and the structure of the music. This is most definitely a winner. Playing like this encourages me to explore Mr Biss in his recent Beethoven recordings.

-- Kevin Sutton, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jonathan Biss (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 27 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jonathan Biss (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 33 Minutes 2 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Brilliant! April 10, 2012 By Samantha Curran See All My Reviews "I strongly recommend this recording by Jonathan Biss and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Jonathan Biss is a revelation, and the Orpheus is outstanding as always. Wonderful Mozart, as it should be. I like this recording so much I bought a second copy for a friend." Report Abuse
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