This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
These famous and rightly acclaimed performances need little recommendation from me. Annie Fischer's small discography for EMI has not been as well treated as it deserves, and so the release of this disc redresses a disservice to a very special artist. Fischer's characteristic intensity suits these concertos particularly well, and she turns the solo part into a true dialog with the orchestra. Especially in the slow movements it's wonderful to hear how she reacts to what is happening around her, while the use of Busoni's cadenzas in Piano Concerto No. 21 gives the reading unusual interest. Wolfgang Sawallisch admirably leads what clearly is Klemperer's Philharmonia, with woodwinds well to the fore; this makes Concerto No. 22 (with clarinets
replacing the oboes) a particular feast for the ears and a marvel of textural interplay between Fischer and her colleagues. EMI's remastered sound is a bit bright, but it's vivid and clear nevertheless. A "great performance of the century" indeed! [6/1/2004]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
I can find no praise too high for Annie Fischer’s playing, for she makes every phrase a delight. Sawallisch partners his soloist to perfection. Everybody has here combined to produce something really outstanding among recordings of Mozart concertos.
Although these concertos were previously reissued on Seraphim in 1995 (from recordings made originally in 1958), this new reincarnation is a welcome addition to the “Great Recordings of the Century” series from EMI Classics, serving as they do to keep Annie Fischer’s peerless Mozart available to listeners. These are among her finest recordings, serving to reinforce her reputation as one of the greatest pianists of the last century. Fischer’s reputation for fierce self-criticism prevented her Beethoven sonatas from being released until she died in 1995 and her ban became moot. But no such problem existed with her Mozart concertos and her partnership with Sawallisch, which engendered a rare perfection in solo and accompaniment, even when Fischer plays with some expressive freedom.
In the C-Major Concerto (still idiotically dubbed “Elvira Madigan,” although the movie featuring the slow movement has virtually disappeared from public interest), Fischer is spirited and vivacious in the outer movements, and beautifully hushed and eloquent in the slow movement. The woodwinds provide chirpy solos, and the ensemble is perfect. Fischer plays the virtuosic cadenzas composed by Busoni for the first and third movements, and with their prevailing late-Romantic chromaticism, they strike a somewhat bizarre note. However, the pianist’s brilliant technique carries them off.
The E-flat Concerto is the real gem here: not one of the most popular of Mozart’s mature concertos, it is noteworthy for the unusual sonority produced by the prominent clarinet parts, and for the extraordinarily beautiful, profound slow movement in C Minor. In the first movement, Fischer plays a cadenza by Hummel—stylistically more appropriate than the anachronism of Busoni, and equally brilliant in Annie Fischer’s hands.
The digital remastering process includes something called “noise shaping via the Prism SNS system”; whatever that technique involves, the sound, like the performances, is vivid and rich.
--Susan Kagan, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Annie Fischer (Piano)
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria
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