Mozart was certainly among the ''domestic dieties'' of Viennese pianist Friedrich Gulda. He repeatedly played Mozart's piano music in his concerts and had it recorded. In so doing, this classically-trained musician, who had already played successfully in jazz bands at a young age, ignored the strict limits imposed by genres: he wanted to show audiences that there are no distinctions between musical styles whenever good music is played honestly and conscientiously. On June 27, 1982, Gulda again appeared at Munich's ''Klaviersommer'' festival. His partner was the jazz pianist Chick Corea, and the collaboration of both musicians is documented on this album ''The Meeting'' - a standard in recording history. Until now, only the famous second half of this concert has been available and not the first, which Gulda performed on his own and was devoted primarily to Mozart. Gulda thus used Mozart's piano music as a kind of introduction to the world of jazz improvisation. The first part of this legendary concert, performed at the Deutsches Museum in the summer of 1982, took the soloist Gulda over 40 minutes to perform, even though he ''only'' played Mozart's Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330. But he began and ended it with his own improvisations, which sound less than Mozartian, even though they do contain a broad and subtle range of different styles and effects, catchy melodies, and violent cascades of sound. Gulda proves to be a highly gifted interpreter of Mozart as well as a mischievous improviser on the piano - who also wants to entertain and can do so on a high level. As a transition to the second part of the concert, he performs two of his own compositions, which can also be heard on this album. It is a piece of good fortune that the Bayerische rRundfunk has now made the first half of this concert event accessible to a wide audience too.
Here we have two separate concert recordings from the archives of the Bavarian Radio. They document two phases in Gulda’s career. The earlier one has two rarely heard rondos for piano and orchestra by Mozart, recorded in 1969. These charming works are performed most engagingly in excellent sound and without a trace of audience noise. Bookended by them is the first half of a concert Gulda shared with the jazz pianist Chick Corea in 1982. Here he embeds a familiar Mozart sonata in compositions of his own. The sonata is both preceded and followed by an improvisation, and further Gulda pieces follow, with applause.
The Mozart sonata is lovely and leisurely, with discreet ornaments added. Gulda eschews clipped notes and employs a wide dynamic range with subtle effect. But his own music is perhaps of greatest interest here. The contrast between it and Mozart is not as great as one might think. Although there are some jazzy sections, for the most part the style is quasi-classical, even quasi-Baroque, and outrageously tonal.
I find Gulda’s creations original, witty, and sometimes moving. They are as unpretentious as his pellucid Mozart interpretations. Excellent liner notes by Carsten Dürer, who did not notice the mistake in the track listings. Admirers of Gulda will certainly want to add this to their collection, and for people unfamiliar with this unique artist it offers a perfect introduction.
– American Record Guide