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Mozart: Complete Piano Concertos / Perahia

Mozart / Perahia,Muray
Release Date: 08/07/2012 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 1914112   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray PerahiaRadu Lupu
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 12 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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CD:  $32.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Piano Concertos: Nos. 1–6, 8, 9, 11–27. Rondos: in D; in A Murray Perahia (pn, cond); English CO SONY 88691914112 (12 CDs: 650:49)

The piano concerto—like the symphony—formed an integral part of Mozart’s catalog throughout his all-too-brief life. When he died in 1791 Mozart had succeeded in transforming the piano concerto from a form of Hausmusik with a simple string trio accompaniment to a full-fledged concert hall staple with a large and colorful Read more orchestra. In the first decade of the 20th century, what were believed to be Mozart’s earliest concertos (Nos. 1–4) were proven to be adaptations for piano and orchestra of sonata movements by other composers, including Johann Gottfried Eckard, Hermann Friedrich Raupach, and Leontzi Honauer. Mozart met these gentlemen—who were pioneers in the field of keyboard music—in Paris in 1764. The next three concertos (K 107/1, 2, and 3), which are not numbered and not included here, are arrangements of piano sonatas by Johann Christian Bach (op. 5/2 in D; op. 5/3 in G, and op. 5/4 in E?), all composed by 1766. Based on handwriting analysis of the autographs they are believed to date from 1771-1772. Concerto No. 5 was his first real effort in the genre, and one that proved enduringly popular at the time. Concertos Nos. 7 and 10 are absent here; No. 7 is for two pianos and No. 10 is for three.

In his mature concertos, Mozart developed an individual approach to the piano concerto; one that attempted to solve the ongoing problem of how thematic material is dealt with by the orchestra and piano, and with the exception of two concertos (Nos. 9 and 12), all of Mozart’s finest examples are found in his later concertos. He attempts to tread a fine line between a symphony with occasional piano solos and a virtuoso piano fantasia accompanied by an orchestra, and Mozart’s solution for the problem varies from concerto to concerto: No two are the same. His handling of the orchestra is nothing short of brilliant and by the time he reached the great Viennese concertos of the 1780s, Mozart had succeeded in liberating the wind, allotting them important solo parts, or passages in which—as an ensemble—they stood out from the rest of the band.

This is the second complete set of Mozart’s piano concertos I have reviewed for Fanfare (the other was a period-instrument performance on Channel Classics by Jos van Immerseel and Anima Æterna in Fanfare 30:3), but the first of my evaluations of this repertoire to appear in our Classical Hall of Fame. Murray Perahia’s set was released about the same time as the Immerseel box and was generally favored over the Channel release. While I will readily admit that Perahia does the music proud, I prefer to view this cycle as an alternative to the Immerseel set. A fine alternative it is too, with a consistency of approach, crystalline clarity, balance, and animation. Perahia is unhindered by academic issues, and he turns in elegant and exuberant readings that possess abundant energy in the outer movements and gracious lyricism in the slow movements. The orchestra plays with enviable precision and enthusiasm, providing Perahia with excellent support through the dozen discs. If a “How to…” manual for this repertoire were possible, these performers could write it. This is fresh and invigorating music-making and it wears the mantle of the era with an enviable freshness.

For a number of years, the “heavy metal” (aka modern instrument) recordings with Alfred Brendel and the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields stood tall, but those ADD recordings have now been eclipsed by these “Triple-D” recordings with Murray Perahia and the English Chamber Orchestra.

FANFARE: Michael Carter

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Sony Masters’ 2012 repackaging of the Murray Perahia Mozart Piano Concerto cycle recorded during the 1970s and ’80s appears sonically identical to the label’s 24-bit remastered 2006 boxed set, which conveys slightly more presence in the bass and midrange in comparison with earlier individual discs in the series. While the present 12-CD edition lacks annotations (recording dates, venues, and cadenza attributions appear on each individual disc’s cardboard sleeve back), Sony’s drastically reduced price clinches the deal, so to speak. And frankly, no better modern-instrument Mozart piano concerto cycle bargain exists on CD, even if one might prefer the occasionally sharper inner-part details Rudolf Buchbinder elicits from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, or the more pungent orchestral colors, characterful first-desk solos, and and quirkier accentuation distinguishing the András Schiff/Sandor Vegh Decca cycle.

Perahia’s immaculate technique, stylistic surety, and classical symmetry are remarkably consistent. While his tone is always singing and rounded, lyrical melodies and decorative passages alike convey a slight diamond-like edge to the peak of crescendos or an emphatic accent. This helps achieve an attractive fusion of unruffled poise and dramatic tension. You hear this quite readily in the B-flat K. 456 concerto ‘s first movement, or in the carefully pedaled trills and restatement of the main theme in K. 595’s heavenly Larghetto, also sampled here. Perahia’s symbiotic musical rapport with Radu Lupu in the two-piano concerto and the two-piano version of the concerto for three pianos should not go unmentioned. In short, the combination of some of Mozart’s most inspired creations, Perahia’s caring artistry, and Sony’s less than two-dollars-per-disc total cost makes this release all the more desirable.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com

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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in F major, K 37 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 15 Minutes 42 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B major, K 39 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in D major, K 40 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 12 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, K 41 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 13 Minutes 38 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in D major, K 175 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1773; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 21 Minutes 40 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 6 in B flat major, K 238 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 20 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for 3 Pianos in F major, K 242 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano), Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 20 Minutes 38 Secs. 
8.
Concerto for Piano no 8 in C major, K 246 "Lützow" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 21 Minutes 33 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Piano no 9 in E flat major, K 271 "Jeunehomme" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 31 Secs. 
10.
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K 365 (316a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano), Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Salzburg, Austria 
Venue:  The Maltings, Snape, Aldeburgh 
Length: 23 Minutes 24 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Piano no 11 in F major, K 413 (387a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 23 Minutes 9 Secs. 
12.
Concerto for Piano no 12 in A major, K 414 (385p) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 25 Minutes 9 Secs. 
13.
Concerto for Piano no 13 in C major, K 415 (387b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 25 Minutes 53 Secs. 
14.
Concerto for Piano no 14 in E flat major, K 449 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 21 Minutes 31 Secs. 
15.
Concerto for Piano no 15 in B flat major, K 450 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 24 Minutes 46 Secs. 
16.
Concerto for Piano no 16 in D major, K 451 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 24 Minutes 41 Secs. 
17.
Concerto for Piano no 17 in G major, K 453 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 29 Minutes 50 Secs. 
18.
Concerto for Piano no 18 in B flat major, K 456 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 29 Minutes 5 Secs. 
19.
Concerto for Piano no 19 in F major, K 459 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 28 Minutes 23 Secs. 
20.
Concerto for Piano no 20 in D minor, K 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 10 Secs. 
21.
Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 27 Minutes 37 Secs. 
22.
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 35 Minutes 42 Secs. 
23.
Concerto for Piano no 23 in A major, K 488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 27 Minutes 27 Secs. 
24.
Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 30 Minutes 52 Secs. 
25.
Concerto for Piano no 25 in C major, K 503 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 42 Secs. 
26.
Concerto for Piano no 26 in D major, K 537 "Coronation" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 34 Secs. 
27.
Concerto for Piano no 27 in B flat major, K 595 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 29 Minutes 59 Secs. 
28.
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K 382 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 10 Minutes 18 Secs. 
29.
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in A major, K 386 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Murray Perahia (Piano)
Conductor:  Murray Perahia
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 27 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  21 Customer Reviews )
 impressive collection April 6, 2014 By D. McArthur (Gretna, LA) See All My Reviews "One review that I read expressed dissatisfaction with the sameness throughout this set. Yes, there is a sameness! The same great pianist, the same great ensemble and the same all-time great composer! Here we have an impessive collection in fine sound in which we can follow the development of Mozart and the piano concerto. What fun, and at a bargain price!" Report Abuse
 A superlative set March 28, 2014 By J. Graham (Lansing, MI) See All My Reviews "This is an extraordinarily fine set of the Mozart piano concertos, at a rock-bottom price. What impresses me most about these performances is their "rightness"--without calling attention to himself, without flash or eccentricity, Perahia simply presents the music in a natural way that makes you think, "Yes, this is how it should go." Unfortunately, there are no notes on the music, but the sound is excellent, even for some performances 20 years old." Report Abuse
 The best! January 21, 2014 By David J. (Los Angeles, CA) See All My Reviews "All of the finest Mozart piano concerts in one place. A must for any collection." Report Abuse
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