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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
*** 1/2 Two great talents meet in a subdued mood that needs more energy, joy, and exuberance
on March 23, 2014
The one-star review grabs your attention with a loud raspberry, but some good points are made. Argerich's previous Mozart concerto recordings - they have been scarce - showed her in command, carving out each phrase with spontaneous inspiration, asking the conductor to follow her lead. That kind of dynamism has been tempered here. The opening of K. 503, mild-mannered in Abbado's hands, calls upon Argerich to match him, with a corresponding loss of energy.
Energy isn't everything, of course, and after a little adjustment, I found it a pleasure to focus on the piano and Argerich's phrasing - she's captivating even at half wattage. Politeness compels her not to hijack the interpretation, but she gives the cadenza (a nice one by Friedrich Gulda) an injection of power that's welcome. The Orchestra Mozart plays pleasantly, and the recorded sound is natural, but be prepared fro close miking of the piano. Tempos are conventional but restrained. Abbado and Argerich approach this music like old hands, without a sense of daring, and there will always be an audience for that, even as HIPness ransacks Mozart all around us.
The tameness of the opening to K. 466 is a combination of Abbado's reserve and the orchestra's period inclinations, but we are past the era where this concerto was seized upon as a harbinger of Beethoven, and by HIP standards the sonority is robust. As before, Argerich scales her temperament to match Abbado's, and for me there's a melancholy tinge to the music-making, looking back at the exuberant pair they made in the Sixties. In K. 366 we get the customary Beethoven cadenzas.
These live recordings from the Lucerne Festival in the spring of 2013 predate Abbado's death by almost a year. I'd wish for a less low-key valedictory from a conductor who often had true greatness in him. Happily, the dashing finale ofo K. 466 comes alive the the real joy and exuberance of Mozart.