Notes and Editorial Reviews
(Review of Hänssler Classic 93079)
No finer Mozartian? These superb Haskil performances only enhance that claim.
Clara Haskil’s recordings represent a fraction of her repertoire. This once included outsize virtuoso fare, later removed to allow her to specialise in music of the most concentrated worth, notably the Viennese classics and, most particularly, Mozart, her ‘joy of joys’. Her rise to fame was slow as she was beset by chronic illness and misfortune yet she quickly aroused the awe of her fellow musicians, who saw her as a player of rare spiritual intensity and a figure of indomitable will-power.
Her many admirers included Lipatti (‘Dear Clarinette, you are a great, truly great,
artist and musician and a remarkable pianist. If one day I am to learn another Mozart concerto I want to be your student. I am not joking.’), Cortot, Edwin Fisher, Géza Anda, Fricsay, Karajan and Igor Markevitch. Such unstinting praise is made more than understandable as you listen to Haskil in her favourite composer, playing, as the accompanying note has it, ‘with the freshness of morning dew’. Indeed, listening to these performances given with Carl Schuricht for Stuttgart radio in 1952 and 1956 it is difficult to imagine a finer Mozartian.
Like Solomon and Lipatti, Haskil was adept at appearing to do very little while achieving everything, though like all true artists she was an individualist; she had a crystalline sound world peculiarly her own. Throughout, there is a joyous lilt to her phrasing as well as the odd touch of impetuosity that she – an arch-perfectionist – would probably not have allowed herself in the studio. Never for a moment do you hear the sort of sentimental lingering with which lesser pianists seek to adorn their interpretations. Everything is forceful and direct yet everything is inclusive, making her moments of gentleness and nuance all the more meaningful. Hear her realisation of the espressivo at the close of the tragic, deeply introspective Andantino of K271 and you are made aware of a musician who used her unfailing insights with rare economy and discretion.
Ad lib flourishes are delightfully ebullient and if there is a sudden slip of the finger at her first entry in K459 that is, perhaps, reassuring evidence that even she, with her matchless dexterity, could momentarily lose her concentration. Schuricht and the Stuttgart Radio orchestra are totally in sympathy with their inimitable soloist and the recordings have come up remarkably well.
-- Bryce Morrison, Gramophone [2/2004]
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 19 in F major, K 459 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Clara Haskil (Piano)
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 07/04/1956
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