Mozart is deceptively hard to play - everything is so exposed and must sound clean and polished. I have a lot of respect for Ashkenazy as a pianist, because in these Mozart concertos he has achieved just that. Perfect legato, even playing. I find these recordings so satisfying to listen to, as he is in utter control of everything. The playing of the Philharmonia is beautifully refined (Ashkenazy conducting from the keyboard) - every melodic line is brought out, and the emphasis on phrases is exactly where it should be. I would say that the orchestral playing in the Ashkenazy cycle is superior to that of the revered Murray Perahia cycle - Mozart - The Piano Concertos
The D minor concerto has to be one my favourites of Mozart's 27, and it is given an amazing performance here (as are the rest). I found it more satisfying than Perahia's - Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 27
. The work itself is so good, Beethoven wrote a magnificent set of cadenzas for it! I particularly enjoy listening to how Ashkenazy executes these cadenzas with so much expression and real virtuosity.
Ashkenazy's performance of these works sound perfect to my ears. Go on treat yourself! Once I heard this selection of concertos, I jumped at the chance to purchase the Ashkenazy box - Mozart: The Piano Concertos
from Amazon for a crazy £16! I highly recommend that purchase too. I notice Amazon's prices fluctuate from time to time...