I first bought the Decca set by Ashkenazy for 2 reasons. One, I am a fan of Ashkenazy and I think he plays superbly. Two, I heard that Decca gave Ashkenazy a superb recorded sound. So that was my first set of Mozart Piano Concertos. In the meantime, I kept hearing praise about Perahia's set - how wonderful it is and that it is listed on Gramophone's list of 100 greatest classical recordings of all time. I think very highly of that list simply because many of my favorite recordings are there - and they are my favorites precisely because they are simply fantastic - Klemperer's Fidelio, Klieber's Beethoven 5 & 7, Solti's Ring, Gilel's Brahms Piano Concerto, Klemperer's German Requiem, Solti's Salome, Furtwangler's Beethoven 9, Giulini's Don Giovanni. So I thought to myself, let's put Perahia to the test. I fell madly in love with Perahia's reading immediately. My goodness - if I thought Ashkenazy is outstanding, Perahia is simply divine!! I rarely come across such beautiful and mesmerizing playing. Perahia's Mozart Piano Concerto is simply in the 'legend' league, standing proudly beside all the greatest recorded classical works in the world. His playing is simply gorgeous - beautiful poetic insights and astounding technique. I was mesmerized from start to finish, completely absorbed in his playing. Ashkenazy is superb but somehow, Perahia gives every concerto that extra indefinable special touch.
This is one of those classical sets that I would put in the 'must-own' class for any classical music lover. You will be enchanted from first to last by the special talents of Perahia. To put it in other words, Perahia is to Mozart Piano Concerto what Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson are to Wagner, what Joan Sutherland is to Bel Canto singing, what Rostropovich is to the cello repertoir, what Artur Rubinstein is to Chopin.