- Conductor: Jos van Immerseel
- Composer: Mozart
- Audio CD (22 Aug. 2011)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 10
- Format: Box set
- Label: Channel Classics
- ASIN: B000003UWY
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 525,924 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Mozart - Complete Piano Concertos (10 cds) Box set
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Volume 6 of Margaret Phillips on-going and critically-acclaimed cycle of the complete organ works of JS Bach Two CD set at two-for-one price, each disc is a self-contained recital featuring major works, a trio sonata, a concerto and a selections of chorale preludes. The first disc features one of the worlds most iconic historic organs, built in 1738 by Christian Müller, in St Bavos church in Haarlem. The second disc features the large 2004 Bernard Aubertin organ in St Louis-en-lÎle, Paris. Built in eighteenth-century German style this instrument is a similar size to the one in Haarlem and offers a fascinating comparison. Repertoire includes some of Bachs largest works for organ, with the Prelude and Fugues in Eminor (Wedge) and B minor at Haarlem and the Fantasia and Fugue in G minor at Paris.
Top Customer Reviews
There is a lot to be said for this excellent version from the Belgian Van Immerseel and his superb orchestra. You will discover an immense musicality, you will listen to these concertos in a way you have not listened to them before. Van Immerseel is an accomplished player but lever lets virtuosity come in the way of musicality. Every concerto brings something new, sometimes in the form of rythm, somtimes timbre and tonality, sometimes accentuation, or balance between instruments. Especially the wind instruments are of the quality we have come to expect from the north European period instruments orchestras.
The earlier concertos normally get ignored in favour of the later ones. Not so here, they are played with the same vigour and craftsmanship as the later ones.
The recording is also excellent as most Channel Classics recordings are. I encourage you to listen to some of the samples on this website if they are still there. Luckily you can also buy most of these discs separately to get a selection of some of these superb performances
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Those negatives aside, I am glad I bought the set. Immerseel's performances on a sweet-toned fortepiano are technically polished, well inflected and have all sorts of nicely turned improvisation-like touches. He also plays continuo in the tuttis. The period instrument orchestra acquits itself well. The tension between the fortepiano, wind band, and strings is much easier to put across with period instruments. The acoustic is intimate but lively and very nicely recorded.
I also own the Bilson/Gardiner Archiv cycle and the torso of the aborted Levin/Hogwood effort. The latter was an unfortunate casualty of the downturn in the recording industry a few years back and would probably have been the preferred cycle, for Levin's improvised cadenzas alone. If you can live with the omissions in Immerseel's work, you won't be disappointed if you are in the market for a period instrument cycle. The performances are top drawer and at roughly $6 per disc a bargain. The Bilson/Gardiner effort is a little more expensive in its current mid-price issue and includes the multiple piano concertos, but also omitting the four early arrangements.
Whether you are listening to the joyous tread of the early Concerto No. 5, or one of the mature minor key concerti, or the final incomparable Concerto No. 27, Immerseel takes you on a journey of delight and discovery with playing and recording that is uniformly outstanding throughout the collection.
Immerseel's playing is always tempered by the moderation that keeps Mozart from becoming Beethoven. Indeed, I find Immerseel more temrperamentally suited to Mozart than Beethoven, based on his recordings of Ludwig van's Concerti Nos. 1-5. While those are good and No. 4 is great, they are not performed with the stylistic qualities or level of spit and polish he and his band regularly demonstrate in Mozart.
Anime Eterna plays and responds wonderfully for the maestro-soloist in this set. The period strings don't have the luster of modern steel strings but they play well and don't sound like iron on iron. Meanwhile, the woodwinds, brass and timpani all perform admirably and they capture every nuance Mozart put into these scores.
This set is a keeper for anyone that wants to hear Mozart played on instruments and in sound that may have mimicked what it was like in his day. I've heard a few of the competing period performances in Mozart and none impressed me like Immerseel and Anime Eterna. If you put this set on your shelf next to Buchbinder's grand piano box with Vienna Symphony, you are equipped well enough in this repertoire to outlast most competition for the next quarter-century.
But I'll probably buy this one too, now, after having heard it all awhile back. Even if you hate the fortepiano, you may well like the one Immerseel plays here. It's really delicious.
Immerseel's orchestra is top-notch; his playing is full of nuance and character, the recorded sound is to die for, consistency from Concerto to Concerto is first-rate. This is a truly outstanding piece of work. I'd buy it before it goes out of print...as a matter of fact, I better get on that..
Let me just mention a couple boring product-related things that I wish I'd known before buying this set.
First, I found a reasonable ($40 all in) new copy of the original (so-called "deluxe", if I am correct) edition of this box via Amazon Marketplace. The reasonable price and the possibility of the set going out of print was what motivated me to finally take the plunge; not terrible reasons, but not exactly "musical" reasons. This set (pictured above, with the tacky gold print in a black "fragment" field on garish blue), from 1991, is actually TEN FULL-SIZE SINGLE-DISC JEWEL CASES in a very cheap boxy slipcase, by 2011 standards a huge, ungainly cube/brick; there are brief liner notes in English translation only (general notes and brief notes on each of the pieces), by Immerseel, included with the first disc. Such packaging might provide better protection than cheap cardboard or paper slips (now the norm for bargain boxes), but the result is both rather cheap-looking and very bulky. A minor consideration, and easily remedied...but something I'd seen no mention of elsewhere. FYI! The (if I'm correct) "bargain" reissue of the set from 2008 (which Prestoclassical has referred to as "out of print", though Amazon still seems to carry them new) looks like it might be packaged in a more modern, space-saving, and somewhat more visually pleasing box; though I didn't feel like paying ~$18 extra for this advantage. It's here:
Mozart: Complete Solo Clavier-Concerte [Box Set]
Second, before buying the Immerseel set, I did some research, but not enough; I am still uncertain that I made the best decision to go with the Immerseel, as this equivalently-priced and apparently much more recently recorded 11-disc set from Viviana Sofronitsky (released domestically in 2011) has received much praise, often favoring it to the Immerseel:
Complete Fortepiano Concerto
No regrets, as both sets are really rather cheap; but buyers savvier than myself might do well to read some reviews of the Sofronitsky set as a point of comparison. I am not sure how many fortepiano cycles I myself need to own, so I might eventually buy the other and part with one of the two.
And I would greatly welcome comment to this review with suggestions/opinions about great recordings, period and modern alike, of the Mozart concertos...such comments would be greatly appreciated! I'm still a newcomer.