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Mozart: Piano Concertos No. 21, K.467 & No. 25, K.503

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 21, 1989
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Editorial Reviews

Used CD

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Pno Con No.21 in C, KV 467: 1. Allegro Maestoso
  2. Pno Con No.21 in C, KV 467: 2. Andante
  3. Pno Con No.21 in C, KV 467: 3. Allegro Vivace Assai
  4. Pno Con No.25 in C, KV 503: 1. Allegro Maestoso
  5. Pno Con No.25 in C, KV 503: 2. Andante
  6. Pno Con No.25 in C, KV 503: 3. Allegretto


Product Details

  • Performer: Stephen Bishop Kovacevich
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (November 21, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00000E47Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,199 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By P. SIMPSON on April 9, 2003
For many years successive Penguin guides awarded this disc a Rosette. Its current unavailability is tragic but my advice is ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES. Kovacevich and co. make you hear that famous slow, second movement from no. 21 - which in the hands of lesser artists can seem hackneyed and sacchirine - as the piece of magical tenderness it is, with no associations other than with classical beauty. But it is no. 25 which is the revelation. No-one else has come even close to Kovacevich's magical way with the central slow moment within the third movement (and it is only a minute long, - but what a minute!!) and Davis and the LSO excel themselves with an oboe and strings accompaniment as magical as K's solo. Its as if Mozart has said, amidst the ceremonialism of the concerto, "hang on, lets just see what a moment of true illumination and quiet joy is like before we get back to the day job". Of course there are many wonderful Mozart Piano Concerto recordings but none, not Perahia or Uchida or Serkin in 25 nor Casadesus, Bilson or Brendel in 21 are so thoughtful or so intense, so "right". And of course, there are many other wonderful Mozart recordings but none, not even the Stern/Zukerman Sinf. Concertante (on DG) are as revelatory of hidden depth. And yes, of course its as silly to have a favourite cd as it is to have a favourite composer,- but if there is a perfect disc, for me, this is it.
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Of the many fine recordings of the Mozart piano concertos that I own, Kovacevich's performance of no. 21 is my favorite. I am not a musician, so I can just say that whatever he and Colin Davis do, they do it right. Colin Davis is my favorite conductor of Mozart and Haydn. I wonder why Kovacevich has not recorded more Mozart?
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Sometime about 20 years ago, I suspect we reached a tipping point in the HIP vs "traditional" debate in connection to the music of the Classical Era. If the catalogue is any indication, a clear winner has emerged, as only rarely do we see the new releases of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven played in the "old" way. Their legacy has thus been given over to the so-called specialists. Musicology is now given sway over pure artistry. The doyens of Gramophone, the NY Times, and the Guardian have all fallen into line, ever eager to prove their HIP bona fides. When big names do tackle this music, they are careful to observe all of the rules of the HIP movement. Like Political Correctness, "authenticity" seems here to stay. Take one look at Rene Jacobs: his is the face of the Zeitgeist.

So while this may not be " the best Mozart recording of all time," it is certainly a stellar effort, and a testament to what we have lost. Paired with Colin Davis and the LSO, young Kovacevich plays both K.467 and K.503 with a lot of panache. Outer movements are quick and full of brio; the slow movements are poetic and never drag. Davis conducts the LSO with his customary vitality. The recorded sound is excellent - this disc definitely does not sound its age (the record was cut in 1973, making it 43 years old at this writing), yet it is a relic from a bygone age.

Indeed, Davis and Kovacevich do not seem the least bit constrained by period practice pieties; this is art for art's sake. In spite of (or perhaps, because of) these anachronisms, orchestral textures are clear and balances are excellent, yet natural.
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Davis conducts vigorously and sensitively throughout. Tempi are flawless I think-sound and the LSO are very good. The outer movements are appropriately quick without being rushed or dragged, which I mention since the first movement ("maestoso") of #25 has been played too slowly for me. Davis and Kovacevich play it at a brisker
allegro pace. So did Szell thrice (with Rudolf Serkin once and Leon Fleisher twice), Davis again with Larrocha, and Galliera with Ingrid Haebler. Josef Vlach and Ivan Moravec edge toward rushing, but play the second movement
as an adagio with Moravec at his greatest providing poetic insight galore (see my review).

Kovacevich is impeccable technically and for the most part interpretively. For example his left hand in #21/2 is equally prominent with his right hand, heightening the hypnotic rhythm of the love song. I am less than pleased with his ornamentation in both second movements (more of it in #25). However it is not too intrusive
on the whole, especially when contrasted with the #25s of Zacharias, Uchida, Brendel (see my review of his set)
and Perahia.

Peers:#21-Vasary/Vasaray, Larrocha/Davis, Serkin/Schneider/Sony, Haebler/Rowicki, Pollini/Pollini, Monique Haas/Rosbaud, Annie Fischer/Lukacs
#25- Serkin/Szell, Fleisher/Szell/Sony, Moravec/Vlach, Larrocha/Davis, Haebler/Galliera, Boegner/Ristenpart, Foldes/Sawallisch
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Obviously this is a highly competitive field and I bought my CD of this performance a long time ago under the Philips label. But I have to say it is blazingly beautiful and brilliant. The richness of the piano alone is quite incredible; the pace is fabulous. This is one of the most expressive, joyful, and dazzling cds I own. I recommend you seek out this combination of artists and orchestra for 21 and 25. You'll find it well worth it.
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