Notes and Editorial Reviews
The precision of O’Hora’s playing, its distinctness, the stylish shapings of his phrases, and the excellent recording make this new collection attractive.
– Michael Ullman, Fanfare
As close to ideal as collectors would have a right to expect at any price—it ranks, indeed, as one of the finest Mozart piano-concerto recordings I have ever heard.
Born in Manchester, Ronan O'Hora was 30 years old when the disc was taped in 1994. My only previous encounter with him, in a rather prosaic performance of Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto a few years ago, had not promised all that well for the bigger musical challenge presented by two of Mozart's most mature works in the genre. It is all the more
satisfying, then, to be able to say that he shows himself here a truly great Mozart pianist, playing with an irresistible combination of spontaneity, warmth, and incisiveness, and offering a stylish Eingang and a discreet touch of embellishment here and there (as well as nicely conceived cadenzas of his own in K 467). He commands a pellucid tone that can withstand comparison with Gieseking's unforgettable 1955 live performance of the 21st Concerto with Guido Cantelli and the New York Philharmonic available on the Music & Arts label. Jonathan Carney and the orchestra partner him with equally impeccable style and technique, and the effect is enhanced by superb recorded sound: Balance between piano and orchestra is faultless, the timpani have excellent presence in K 467, woodwinds are appropriately forward (including a particularly witty bassoon in the finale of K. 488), and the moderate-sized string section enjoys a wonderfully natural sheen. O'Hora and Carney, moreover, are both exemplary in their willingness to allow a little life-giving Luftpause at suitable moments, such as the transition to the subordinate theme in the opening Allegro of Concerto 23.
– Bernard Jacobson, Fanfare, reviewing an earlier issue of this recording Read less
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