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Discussion: Mozart: Piano Concertos (complete)

Posts: 13
Page: 1 2 next

Post by zany June 30, 2005 (1 of 13)
The idea of issuing the complete Mozart piano concertos on SACD is very laudible, however it is a project worthy of the very best. Unfortunately this set does not fill the bill. Firstly, the original recordings are PCM and it shows. Yes, this is an inexpensive set but that does not excuse poor recordings. For example K488 sounds as though the piano and orchestra were in the next room to the microphones. The volume varies greatly between the discs, in some cases being barely acceptable. Finally, much of Mr Han's playing is hurried and insensitive, all the more regretable as the orchestra are up to the standard we would expect from the Philharmonia. Approach with caution!

Post by brenda June 30, 2005 (2 of 13)
zany said: Unfortunately this set does not fill the bill. Approach with caution!
It would take something truly wonderful to make anyone replace the Murray Perahia set. Sorry to hear about the sound. The sound on the Perahia'is still warm and glowing, RBCD limitations aside. Maybe one day Sony will do with the rest as they did with no's 20 & 27, which is "only" stereo but is a sublime SACD. Until then, accept no substitutes unless you want an inexpensive (36 euros at jpc) back up, SACD or otherwise. Anyway, for individual concertos, there's a lovely Brendel disc (9 and 25), an earlier Brendel of 9 & 14 and the Perahia 20/27. The RPO disc isn't up to scratch despite the price. B.

Post by mdt June 30, 2005 (3 of 13)
brenda said:

It would take something truly wonderful to make anyone replace the Murray Perahia set. Sorry to hear about the sound. The sound on the Perahia'is still warm and glowing, RBCD limitations aside. Maybe one day Sony will do with the rest as they did with no's 20 & 27, which is "only" stereo but is a sublime SACD. Until then, accept no substitutes unless you want an inexpensive (36 euros at jpc) back up, SACD or otherwise. Anyway, for individual concertos, there's a lovely Brendel disc (9 and 25), an earlier Brendel of 9 & 14 and the Perahia 20/27. The RPO disc isn't up to scratch despite the price. B.

what do you think about Andras Schiff ? He plays together with the Mozart experienced Salzburg-Camerata, his instrument is a Boesendorfer, renowned for it's full, warm sound , and his label Decca most allways provides excellent recording quality.

Post by seth June 30, 2005 (4 of 13)
brenda said:

It would take something truly wonderful to make anyone replace the Murray Perahia set. Sorry to hear about the sound. The sound on the Perahia'is still warm and glowing, RBCD limitations aside. Maybe one day Sony will do with the rest as they did with no's 20 & 27, which is "only" stereo but is a sublime SACD. Until then, accept no substitutes unless you want an inexpensive (36 euros at jpc) back up, SACD or otherwise. Anyway, for individual concertos, there's a lovely Brendel disc (9 and 25), an earlier Brendel of 9 & 14 and the Perahia 20/27. The RPO disc isn't up to scratch despite the price. B.

You like the sound of the Perahia set? I find the piano to be distant and muted in some of the recordings.

I agree that it is one of the very best complete cycles. Perahia rarely dissapoints.

Post by ramesh June 30, 2005 (5 of 13)
I can recommend two SACDs of the concerti sourced from Japan; Perahia in K467 and 537, Haskil in K466 and 491.
Weirdly for the Perahia, K467 dates from 1990 with the COE. The Coronation is an early digital recording from 1983, sourced from the integral cycle. The piano has more presence in K 467 than some in the cycle, and the SACD sound approximates what you'd hear on a good 24/48 PCM recording transferred to SACD. There is no discernible improvement in the Coronation compared to the CD track, but it's hard to imagine a better performance of it.
The Haskil disc was recorded just before her death in 1960, and the piano sound is so much better than the transfers in the Philips Great Pianists set. Her playing is extraordinarily beautiful.

Post by akiralx July 1, 2005 (6 of 13)
mdt said:

what do you think about Andras Schiff ? He plays together with the Mozart experienced Salzburg-Camerata, his instrument is a Boesendorfer, renowned for it's full, warm sound , and his label Decca most allways provides excellent recording quality.

Of the complete cycles I would prefer Schiff (or even Anda on DG) over Perahia, whose playing is often prettily bland. The ECO are often rather beefier than is advisable in Mozart - Ashkenazy's boring Philharmonia set is worse in both areas (blandness and beefiness).

The success of the Schiff cycle relies as much on Vegh's conducting as on the soloist, well though he plays. When they are both on song, as in K456, the results are superb.

Still you'll do better acquiring single recordings, e.g. Gulda in K271 on Orfeo, K466 on DG and K488 on Teldec, Barenboim in K415 on Teldec, Anda in K467 on DG etc.

The only SACD I own of this repertoire (Brendel and Mackerras)is very good I think, the orchestra is fairly robust in terms of size but always sounds idiomatic. The recording is excellent.

Post by brenda July 1, 2005 (7 of 13)
mdt said: what do you think about Andras Schiff ?
i love the schiff set, but i sometimes think he "cosets" the music a little too much. I agree with akiralx though that when he and Vegh are of one mind, as in K.466 (no. 20), the results are splendid. I don't think any single set can replace a collection of "best" readings and that Perahia is sometimes accused of being bland in comparison to some, (see other posts) but his straighter readings consistently pay real dividends, especially in slow movements, and of those especially in no. 23. A real test is the last movt of the 25th, - Perahia just misses cf. Kovacevich and Serkin, Schiff fusses a little and misses by a bit more. There is a lovely Brendel (with Mackerras) SACD of 25 and 9 which comes closer to my own subjective ideal than either Schiff or Perahia but not as close as K. or S. As to the sound of the Perahia set, I used to find it muted on my old set up but my newer one opens it up beautifully and I've heard them on a friend's much more rarified setup and they sound glorious (am green with envy, but he lets me play lots of stuff on his system).

Post by tream July 1, 2005 (8 of 13)
akiralx said:

Of the complete cycles I would prefer Schiff (or even Anda on DG) over Perahia, whose playing is often prettily bland. The ECO are often rather beefier than is advisable in Mozart - Ashkenazy's boring Philharmonia set is worse in both areas (blandness and beefiness).

The success of the Schiff cycle relies as much on Vegh's conducting as on the soloist, well though he plays. When they are both on song, as in K456, the results are superb.

Still you'll do better acquiring single recordings, e.g. Gulda in K271 on Orfeo, K466 on DG and K488 on Teldec, Barenboim in K415 on Teldec, Anda in K467 on DG etc.

The only SACD I own of this repertoire (Brendel and Mackerras)is very good I think, the orchestra is fairly robust in terms of size but always sounds idiomatic. The recording is excellent.

I tend to agree with your assessment of Perahia as a bland interpreter. I admire his playing without ever being drawn into the music. Maybe something missing in me, since others have raved about his performances, but I have listened to him playing Bach, Mozart and Schumann, and continue to have the same response. I hear the piano playing but miss the music.

Post by akiralx July 2, 2005 (9 of 13)
tream said:

I tend to agree with your assessment of Perahia as a bland interpreter. I admire his playing without ever being drawn into the music. Maybe something missing in me, since others have raved about his performances, but I have listened to him playing Bach, Mozart and Schumann, and continue to have the same response. I hear the piano playing but miss the music.

I do actually like his recordings of Beethoven's Emperor (one of my favourites for that work in fact), Mendelssohn's Variations Serieuses, the live Chopin 1 with Mehta, and Berg's Sonata.

His Goldbergs is pretty good also, but I haven't heard many of his recent records.

Apparently in concert he's not as polished as on record and can often hit quite a few clinkers.

Post by seth July 2, 2005 (10 of 13)
tream said:

I tend to agree with your assessment of Perahia as a bland interpreter. I admire his playing without ever being drawn into the music. Maybe something missing in me, since others have raved about his performances, but I have listened to him playing Bach, Mozart and Schumann, and continue to have the same response. I hear the piano playing but miss the music.

His Bach: Goldberg isn't nearly as exciting as other recordings, but it's one of the two or three most brilliant. So I can understand that some people find it a bit dull.

Have you tried his Schubert? He has an excellent "Wanderer" Fantasy as well as very strong recordings of the last three piano sonatas. His Beethoven concertos are also quite good.

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