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Mozart: Piano Concertos

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 31, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 31, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • ASIN: B001OFM2VA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,719 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Let me admit the obvious: I'm a Leon Fleisher fan. I'm happy the fabled octogenarian is alive and kicking - and performing and making recordings! In truth, I'd been waiting for this disc ever since I heard Fleisher play Mozart's early K. 414/Piano Concerto No. 12 in Munich a few years ago, and came away thinking I'd never heard it interpreted more profoundly. I even had the audacity to ask him, cueing for an autograph after the concert, if he couldn't please (like many non-native speakers of the language, I may even have put this word in the - coughing slightly - wrong place in the sentence) record this - he gave me a smirk (or maybe it was a gracious smile?) and replied "Right, I should probably do this before I'm too old."

Realizing not everyone has been waiting for yet another Mozart Piano Concerto disc, let me get the awkward part out of the way first: this disc also contains a recording of Mozart's much more popular No. 23 K. 488 - a favourite piece of mine - and I'm not too taken with it. The playing sounds rather monochromatic to me, invariably played forte - the perfunctory orchestral accompaniment and overblown spatial reproduction of the piano doesn't really help either. I compared this to some favourite recordings (Haskil/Sacher, Kempff/Leitner and Moravec/Marriner - Moravec's earlier 1974 recording with Vlach remains my desert island choice) - even Keith Jarrett's fuss-free way with it sounds more inspired to me. Having said all this, I wouldn't dare call the performance bad - the music is so great, it reminds me of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto insofar as it's tempting to claim the piece plays itself. Fleisher still manages to make time stand still in the slow movement (but then, others achieve the same), but adds no interpretive insight elsewhere.
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This is one of the best recordings of Mozart's 12th Piano Concerto. I enjoy hearing Fleisher back at the at the piano again (with the use of both hands), and after hearing this, hope beyond hope he would tackle a whole cycle of the Mozart Piano Concertos with the same engineering and ensemble. I own sets by Jeno Jando on Naxos and Barenboim (the digital set) on EMI. If he could pull off the same quality on other future recordings of these concertos, he would have a far superior cycle. But for now, we have these, and these three are well worth the price. A must have for Mozart collectors.

Mr. Fleisher's performances of the Brahms Piano Concertos are legendary. Despite being recorded in mono hi-fi, the sonics hold up well and still my preferred performances of those works. Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 / Handel Variations,Op.24 / Waltzes,Op.39
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Format: Audio CD
This disc is delightful as part of the return of Leon Fleisher, but even without that stirring aspect the album would still be remarkable fun. Teaming with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the pianist has set down endearing recordings of the Mozart Concertos Nos. 12 and 23, plus a two-keyboard arrangement of the Lodron Concerto originally composed for three. (Joining Fleisher for that one is his wife.) All three performances are spry, energetic and quite transparent, as one would expect with the relatively small forces involved. One previous reviewer, if I'm remembering correctly, found the rendition of the No. 23 a bit flat, but to me it sounded just right. For a full cycle of Mozart concertos, my personal choices are those with Murray Perahia and Jos van Immerseel as soloist, but if you're shopping around for some individual performances, this release can take care of three very nicely with one shot. Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
The performances are top notch on this for both Leon Fleisher and the orchestra. The recording is a superior quality, too.

This is definitely worth the wait to order it or instantly download it on an MP3. The synchronization of piano and orchestra is superior. The velocity of playing is impressive. It was great to hear an entire piano concerto rather than bits and pieces that are usually done on the radio.
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