Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 10, 19 & 20
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These are glorious performances of three very different piano concerti by Mozart. No. 19 (K. 459) is a handsome showpiece, filled with dramatic turns for the soloist; No. 10 (K. 365) for two pianos is simply lovely; and No. 20 (K. 466) is a deeply felt, intricately woven, brooding, but finally exultant masterpiece. Martha Argerich tears into No. 20's darkness with great fury, abetted by Rabinovitch's tense, turmoil-filled accompaniment; she plays Beethoven's appropriately heavy cadenzas with brilliance, and her headlong blaze into the final movement is breathtaking. Rabinovitch plays and leads No. 19 with charm and virtuosity. And the two pianists zip through K. 365 as if it were a delicious ice-cream sundae, which, frankly, it is. A terrific disc, highly recommended. --Robert Levine
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The Padua and Veneto orchestra, which can also be heard in Beethoven under Peter Maag, are a somewhat rough but jolly bunch, and their vigor suits Argerich's approach perfectly, although they aren't equal partners. As much as Rabinovitch charges ahead and pumps up the sonority, the pianist remains in total command -- to an astonishing degree, in fact. At every turn she contradicts the accepted way we hear Mozart today, and yet her authority sweeps everything before it. She towers like Horowitz but without his arbitrary, grandstanding self-regard. In both K. 459, where Rabinovitch is both soloist and conductor, and K. 466 tempos are fast and the atmosphere bracing. Teldec's recorded sound is excellent; it balances wind soloists an the piano quite well, bringing out their colorful interplay. For some reason I assumed that these wrre early recordings, but the two-piano concerto dates from 1995, the two solo works from 1998.
I wonder why the Amazon critic makes such silly statements? He informs us that the three concertos are very different, but then he characterizes both K. 459 and K. 466 as dramatic (which they are, doubly so in Argerich's hands), and cops out on K. 365 by inanely describing it as "simply lovely." This is musical analysis?
Robinovitch's F Major No. 19 pales in comparison. The first of the two cadenzas in the last movement is truly strange--very uncharacteristic of Mozart--not sure if it was composed by Robinovitch himself. The CD redeems itself with a fine performance of the Concerto for Two Pianos.