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Mozart: Piano Concertos No 17 & 21 / Pires, Abbado

Release Date: 06/11/1996 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 439941   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is clear from the opening of the G major Concerto that Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe were on good form at this concert in Italy. It springs along, yet unhastily, and the orchestral sound, while full-bodied, has none of the heaviness that detracts from good Mozartian style. Playing what sounds like a modern piano of unusual tonal crispness, Maria-Joao Pires also satisfies, with shapely phrasing and lovely sonorities, and this whole first movement proceeds with both a keen sense of purpose and unmannered grace, the exchanges of the development section being delightfully done. The cadenza here is Mozart’s own and, of course, a model of what cadenzas in his concertos should
Read more be but often are not, in other words suiting the music and not overlong. After these unalloyed pleasures, the touching Andante is no less satisfying, elegantly sculptured and with marvellous woodwind playing; to hear Pires at her finest, try the poignant D minor episode beginning at 4'12 or the cadenza (again Mozart’s) some three minutes later. The playful, variation-form finale is again perfectly judged, and indeed the performance of the whole concerto offers truly outstanding Mozart playing, among the best I have heard on disc and unquestionably in the Perahia class. The recording is worthy of it: beautifully balanced and clear for one taken live while also being refreshingly free of audience noise and applause.

The C major Concerto is also excellent, the first movement strong yet not pompous, with all concerned thankfully never forgetting that this is Mozart and not Beethoven. The famous ‘Elvira Madigan’ slow movement is not at all romanticized but admirably poised, and the finale springs along. Space forbids detailed discussion, but I have only praise for the performance, and even if you think Rudolf Serkin’s cadenza to the first movement a bit larger than life, Pires delivers it in a redeemingly Mozartian way. There is no obvious alternative coupling for these two concertos, and if there were it would have to be of remarkable quality to better this outstanding new disc.

--Gramophone Magazine Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 17 in G major, K 453 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Live  Teatro Communale, Bologna, Italy 
Length: 29 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Teatro Communale, Bologna, Italy 
Length: 26 Minutes 52 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No.17 in G, K.453: 1. Allegro
Piano Concerto No.17 in G, K.453: 2. Andante
Piano Concerto No.17 in G, K.453: 3. Allegretto
Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467: 1. Allegro
Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467: 2. Andante
Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467: 3. Allegro vivace assai

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