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Robert Casadesus Plays Mozart

Mozart / Casadesus,Robert
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Sony (Nax615)   Catalog #: 7808372  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert CasadesusGaby CasadesusJean Casadesus
Conductor:  George SzellEugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony OrchestraCleveland OrchestraPhiladelphia Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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CD:  $13.49
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 23 in A major, K 488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 26 in D major, K 537 "Coronation" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 27 in B flat major, K 595 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 12 in F major, K 332 (300k) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 15 in B flat major, K 450 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Concerto for Piano no 17 in G major, K 453 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K 365 (316a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Casadesus (Piano), Gaby Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Salzburg, Austria 
11.
Concerto for 3 Pianos in F major, K 242 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Gaby Casadesus (Piano), Robert Casadesus (Piano), Jean Casadesus (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
12.
Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major, K 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Smile, Rober! July 20, 2014 By Dan E. (Fredericksburg, VA) See All My Reviews "Everything about these discs is marvelous, including the price. Great old performances, many with "members of the Cleveland Orchestra," whatever that implies. Only downer is Rober's pained expression on the covers." Report Abuse
 - - - January 12, 2012 By B. Hill See All My Reviews "No booklet included" Report Abuse
 Gallic and Gallant Mozart from Casadesus December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "This five CD set includes all Robert Casadesus' stereo Mozart Piano Concerto recordings with George Szell, as well the Concertos for Two and Three pianos with Ormandy. (Casadesus also recorded monaural versions of several Mozart Concertos with Szell, which are not included in this set. Hopefully they will form a separate release.)

Casadesus clearly saw Mozart as part of the Classical tradition, not as a proto-Romantic. The performances here are emotionally reserved (an earlier generation would have called them "aristocratic"); the sustaining pedal is used sparingly; outer movements are brisk and slow movements are never dragged - nor are they embellished. At the same time, this is not the rococo, porcelain-doll approach to Mozart that was popular among 19th Century players. Incidentally, Casadesus plays his own cadenzas in K. 365, K. 467, and K. 482, and utilizes the Saint-Saens cadenza in K. 491.

Szell's accompaniments with the Cleveland Orchestra fit hand-in-glove, never crossing the line between the "chaste warmth" that Szell favored in 18th Century music and the more Romantic approach favored by some of his contemporaries. By the way, all of the recordings with Szell do indeed include the Cleveland Orchestra or "members of", including those that list the Columbia Symphony Orchestra as the players. For contractual reasons, in some cases the Clevelanders did not record under their own name. (I recall a music critic who lamented Szell's use of the Columbia Symphony, but marveling how Szell got them to sound like the Cleveland, evidently unaware of the ruse.)

Ormandy, always a sympathetic accompanist, draws fine playing from the Philadelphia Orchestra, especially from the woodwinds - although some may not care for the somewhat "heavier" orchestral sound. But at least the Philadelphians get to play under their own name. In the Two Piano Concerto Casadesus is joined by his wife Gaby and in the Three Piano Concerto their son Jean participates. Family music making, of course, was something that Mozart himself enjoyed, and as the three Casadesus were fine pianists, this is entirely appropriate.

Also included is a rather colorless performance of the Sonata in F major, K. 332, (to hear the real potential of this work, listen to Horszowski). Rounding out the set is a relaxed reading of the Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452, with the Philadelphia Woodwind Quartet.

Most of the items on this set have been issued numerous times on LP and CD, with varying sound quality. The set uses the best existing transfers for each concerto, and they sound quite good: the piano/orchestra balance is well judged; dynamics, which were constricted on LP, have been opened up; the strings have lost their aggressive edge heard on earlier CDs and have a sweeter, more natural character. In the multi Piano Concertos, the sense of separation between the pianos is slightly exaggerated but palatable. The sound in the Sonata, however, is so one dimensional that for a moment I thought it was mono. The Quintet, also, is subpar, with a closely miked piano contrasting with more atmospheric winds. As is customary with the Masters series, this is a budget priced, bare bones release. There are no liner notes, but one can always look up information about the works on the Internet (Wikipedia has articles on each work in this collection).
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