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Mozart : Complete Mozart Piano Sonatas [Box set]

Alexei Lubimov Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £23.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Alexei Lubimov is widely recognised as both a champion of new music and an insightful interpreter of classical and baroque music. In 1968 in Moscow he premiered new works by Terry Riley and John Cage, and through the 1970s specialized in early music, also an enduring passion. His first ECM recital “Der Bote” (2000) scans history from C.P.E. Bach to Valentin Silvestrov and Tigran ... Read more in Amazon's Alexei Lubimov Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 May 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B0013LUD9S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alexei Lubimov's 1990 Erato Mozart Piano Sonatas 29 April 2011
By Mr. Mark A. Meldon TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Alexei Lubimov is a very interesting pianist with some excellent recent releases on the Zig-Zag label of Beethoven Beethoven - Late Piano Sonatas - Op 109, 110 and 111 and Schubert Schubert: Impromptus [performed on Joseph Schantz 1830], played on keyboard instruments roughly contemporaneous with the composition of the works in question. This inexpensive Warner Classics card box takes us back to the days of the French Erato label with a complete set of Mozart's piano sonatas played on three different fortepianos. I have to say that, for me, not all of this is great music, but it is always entertaining; Lubimov's way with these works is very pleasing to my ears.

The set was recorded in January and February of 1990, with K279-281 following in July of that year. The sound quality is excellent throughout, as is often the case when you come across the name Yolanta Skura in CD booklets. The first 6 sonatas take up the first 2 CDs and Lubimov chose to play them on a fortepiano built by Claude Kelecom in Brussels in 1978 based on an original by Johann Andreas Stein dating from 1788; it has a light sound with rapid decay.

Sonatas 7-9, which take up CD 3, are played on a slightly beefier fortepiano built by Marc Ducornet in Paris in 1984 - this is also based on Stein's originals.

The final 3 CDs, containing sonatas 10-18, the Fantasy in C minor K475, and the Allegro in G minor K312, are all played on a Christopher Clarke fortepiano built in 1986. This instrument sounds lovely and is based on an Anton Walter from around 1795.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tree in the Middle of the Forest 21 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD
All is not lost. I was unaware that Erato, as we will call them, had collated all of Lubimov's recordings into the one box.

True: this cycle will never edge the Uchida out from the spotlight but it is superlative from the first sonata to the last. Sitting here,'at the back of the bus and all', it proves the theorem of unperceived existence, Berkeley-style.

Lubimov has taste and acuity. The recording engineers discharged their duties impeccably. The fortepianos in use are luminous (yes, it is a cycle even for those who prefer their Mozart to be played on a carrier-based Bosendorfer).

Like us, this box is not going to be around forever. Converge.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tree in the Middle of the Forest 23 July 2011
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
All is not lost. I was unaware that Erato, as we will call them, had collated all of Lubimov's recordings into the one box.

True: this cycle will never edge the Uchida out from the spotlight but it is superlative from the first sonata to the last. Sitting here,'at the back of the bus and all', it proves the theorem of unperceived existence, Berkeley-style.

Lubimov has taste and acuity. The recording engineers discharged their duties impeccably. The fortepianos in use are luminous (yes, it is a cycle even for those who prefer their Mozart to be played on a carrier-based Bosendorfer).

Note: Lubimov sounds like he is having an off-day in K 331. He is also lavish in his use of ornamentation in K 545 and it may not be to your taste: this was designed to be a simple work. Even so, these are the only blemishes in a stellar set.

Like us, this box is not going to be around forever. Converge.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Homage to O'Hanlon ... 19 Feb 2013
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
... who called my attention to this excellent set of Mozart solo fortepiano performances. For the O'Hanlon module to praise a fortepianist is equivalent to the Cardinals electing a married woman Pope. Alexei Lubimov is no limp daisy at the keyborad; this is a robust, flashy-fingered interpretation, at its best to my ears when it's most masculine in affect. The three fortepianos employed on the six CDs are all replicas of instruments built by Anton Walter or Johann Andreas Stein in the 1780s and 1790s. Don't expect theses recordings to sound like any fortepiano you may have heard in a large concert hall. The engineers have miked the instruments very closely and the results are splendidly musical, full-timbred and distinct in their middle register as a fortepiano should be. There are, as a slight downside, a few scantily-written adagio movements that sound as if the strings were made of stretched glass, but on the whole a too-buff fortepiano is much preferable to an instrument that sounds like Schroeder's toy piano.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mozart's Piano Sonatas by Alexei Lubimov - Virtuosic performances on fortepiano 21 May 2014
By Phil in Magnolia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have had the well-known box set of Mozart's Piano Sonatas, performed by Mitsuko Uchida, for many years (Mozart: Piano Sonatas (Complete Mozart Edition, Vol. 17)). Those performances have long been considered by many to be the gold standard in a way, for Mozart's solo piano works, and I've enjoyed them and for a very long time did not consider any need for other performances.

Not until recently, that is, when I decided that I wanted to also have a set of performances of these sonatas, but performed on the fortepiano rather than a modern piano. Perhaps this was just an idealistic notion that being able to listen to the music on the same style and sound of instrument as what Mozart himself would have played, that this would be somehow more "authentic". Still, idealistic or not, Mozart did himself play the piano, the fortepiano that is, quite well in fact. And being able to hear the music as he himself would have heard it, this is desirable, I think.

There are a few performers who have recorded these works on fortepiano. I've had a single disc of Alexei Lubimov's performances - Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas Volume 3 - for quite a few years, from when these recordings were released on individual CD's. That performance by Lubimov, of Sonata #15 K533 for example, is sublime and exceptional. The well-known Sonata #16, K545, is delightful and played with great delicacy and style. Frankly, unless you are an experienced musician or expert in these things, I don't believe you would notice that it is a fortepiano, but the important thing about Lubimov's performance is the quality and virtuosity. He makes the music sound easy, and I know that it is anything but easy to perform well.

And so when I decided recently to acquire a set of the complete sonatas, selecting this set with performances by Lubimov was an easy one. It is available here on Amazon for a *very* reasonable price (check the third-party sellers, and watch Amazon's own pricing which can vary widely. I picked up my copy for fifteen bucks including Prime shipping, from Amazon itself). The six discs basically contain just the eighteen sonatas, with the addition only of the K400 Allegro in B Flat Minor, the K475 Fantasy in C Minor, and the K312 Allegro in G Minor. A couple of different fortepianos are used - these are identified in the accompanying booklet - and the recordings were made at a couple of different locations in France, between January and June, 1990. The recording quality is superb, crystal clear, putting the listener in the room with the piano, just as the best solo piano recordings will do.

The introductory booklet has some very interesting remarks concerning Mozart and this solo piano music, which I'll paraphrase here, beginning with this quote from Artur Schnabel regarding Mozart's piano music - "Too easy for children, too difficult for artists", and "Children find Mozart easy because of the quantity of the notes, artists find him difficult because of the quality of the notes". The essay goes on to explain how "of all great composers he was the most economical. In the majority of his sonatas, for most of the time, there are only two lines - a melody on the right hand, and a melodic accompaniment in the left. Solid chords are relatively rare. In Mozart there is nothing superfluous. Every note counts, every one has its purpose - not only a musical but also an expressive purpose. No other composer leaves the performer so exposed. none requires such relentless concentration or such continuous subtlety. In Mozart, every inflection, every sliver of silence, the timing of every note, is a matter of crucial importance".

The essay goes on to discuss briefly how Mozart began playing the piano himself at age three, was composing by age five, and became among the finest keyboard players of his time by age twelve or so. Still, he did not begin to compose his piano sonatas until age twenty, having by that time composed eight operas, twenty nine church works, fifteen symphonies, and much more. His development as a composer was therefore well established by the time he turned to the piano sonata; none of these are immature works, there is no juvenilia here. This is a collection of piano music composed by one of our great artists, at his early maturity as a composer, and writing for an instrument that he loved and played himself.

And so, my feeling is that these performances by Lubimov help bring us closer to Mozart's solo piano music, with exceptional performances and interpretations, playing the instrument that Mozart himself played. They are delightful from beginning to end.

As a final point, and in the interest of completeness, I will mention a couple of other choices for those may wish to consider fortepiano performances by others besides Lubimov:

- Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas And Variations - Ronald Brautigam

The above box set, 10 discs released by BIS, includes Mozart's piano variations plus other miscellaneous pieces, in addition to the complete sonatas. It is the recommended set in the Penguin Guide, for Mozart performed on the fortepiano. I do not have this set myself (I'm very satisfied with the Lubimov box here), but it is not out of the question that at some point in the future I might want to acquire it as well, simply to have another interpretation in my collection.

Finally, for performances that are not of the complete sonatas:

- Mozart: Sonate / Fantasia / Variazioni / Suite - Andreas Staier
- Mozart: Piano Sonatas - K.282, 330, 331, 399, 455, 457, 475 & 574 - Andreas Staier

The above two selections, the first on single CD and the second a 2-cd release, both on the Harmonia Mundi label, are also given high marks by Penguin, who say in part that "there are few recitals on a fortepiano as convincing or as completely right for the music as this" (the 2-cd release includes the music from the first recording, with additional works added). Andreas Staier is a well known and very accomplished performer on harpsichord, fortepiano, and pianoforte (modern piano). The performances on these two discs are also given on a fortepiano that is a copy of one built by the Viennese maker Anton Walter, very similar to the instrument built by the same maker for Mozart himself.
5.0 out of 5 stars I applisiated Lubimov's natural and self controled play 28 May 2014
By Yoshihiro Yamada - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Using an old piano i forte distinct from modern piano , Lubimov's warm, natural and self controled play satisfys me very much.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable set 25 April 2013
By doctor rocket - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Lubimov plays the sonatas with bite and drama, and reveals sinew that I didn't know Mozart had. For me this is not just wonderful music, it is a revelation.
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