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Piano Concertos, The (Barenboim, Berliner Phil.) [9 CD+DVD] [Box set]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 April 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B0007PHAYM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,142 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By Dr S H
Format:Audio CD
When I first saw this box on offer on Amazon, I could hardly believe the price - what's the catch? Are the performances that awful?
The Mozart Piano Concertos are amongst the most divine creations by the composer who gave us some of the most inspired music ever to hit this planet. They are immediately accessible, and yet the writing is intensely intricate and can be appreciated on several levels.
Many of the greatest pianists have recorded them all - Ashkenazy, Perahia, Anda to name a few - all superb and perfect performances. But to me and I suspect many others judging by their sales, it was always the young Barenboim who encapsulated the joy of these pieces. Barenboim was at his pianistic peak when he first recorded these concertos for EMI at Abbey Road in the late 60s and early seventies - well before all the sadness that was to enter his life with the illness of his wife Jacqueline Du Pre.
He plays these concertos with a big smile which you can actually hear and the English Chamber Orchestra are in total empathy and positively "sing" the accompaniment. Others, wiser than me have called these performances "mannered" and "idiosyncratic". Yet to me, they soar with joy and happiness - perhaps as Mozart would have played them himself.
So what of these new recordings? Well, they are certainly different, more serious in many ways but still with the sparkle of the old Barenboim. Some speeds have increased and some have slowed (listen to the 18th K456). The sound is obviously improved in comparison to the older EMI recordings, though not as much as you might think, and the Berlin Phil are of course wonderful, though the sheer exuberance of the English Chamber Orchestra is not there.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Barenboim has been working with these wonderful concerti almost all his life, I imagine, and equally is an experienced 'leader from the keyboard', so you would expect these performances to be good, and indeed they are very good indeed. He's using a modern concert grand and there are no eccentricities or particular nods towards period performance, and his orchestra sounds, not small, but comfortably medium-sized - and their sound, too, is the comfortable, familiar sound of the Berlin Phil., absolutely precise, nicely turned, very easy on the ear. The recorded balance is absolutely excellent ; nothing is too prominent or too recessed, and you hear every note. There are no revelations and little that is sharp-edged - Mozart can sound more startling and surprising than here - but I do not mean to damn these performances with faint praise, because there is no doubting the affection or the skill with which they are presented, and indeed they succeed 100% in realising the greatness of the composer's vision. The set comes with an enjoyable DVD of two concerti, K.365 and K. 242, in which Barenboim is joined by Georg Solti and (K. 242) Andras Schiff). Warmly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, Magisterial. 16 July 2010
By David J. Friedlander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The level of playing here is consistantly first class. Barenboim easily has the technique to fly through even the most difficult passages. Since we are talking about 2 dozen concerti, this is a pretty amazing achievement. The Berlin Philharmoniker is one of the World's leading orchestras, especially in this repertoire. Overall this has to be taken as one of the pinnacle of Mozart piano concerto cycles available. There is lots of competition too! Ashkenazy, Perahia, Uchida and Schiff to name a few.

In any undertaking this large there are bound to be varying results. This is true of this cycle but I could not find anything that was bothersome or below excellent. Some tempo choices were slightly off the usual but in no way did any of these events bring detriment to the results. For example, #26 started a bit fast compared to other versions I've heard but this was easy to adjust to after a moment or two. Some of Barenboim's cadenzas were very playful, quoting themes from Mozart's famous operas. All of this relects Barenboim's confidence in himself and mastery of the music, which is evident throughout the entire series.

The early Vienna concerti, 14 through 16 where already critically aclaimed and one finds similar brilliance in many other concerti as well. I feel that Barenboim has contributed something new to these works while still maintaining a healthy respect for the tradition this music holds. In other words, the playing is alive and intelligent while remaining true to the Mozartian idiom and style. Considering the bargain price, high level of recording technology, great orchestra and Barenboim's lively playing, I give this a very strong recommendation. For someone unfamiliar with these works, I would suggest buying single CDs of several different players before jumping into an entire set. That way you can get an idea of whose playing pleases you the most before committing to a complete set.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recordings of depth and guts 24 Feb 2006
By Aspiring critic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This set is even finer than Barenboims earlier cycle with the ECO, which is also excellent. The sound is crisper, and the performances radiate joy and exuberance. If you want Mozart played in a romantic style but without oversentimentality, this is the set for you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Playful and robust interpretation. 30 Dec 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is the second complete (though the present recording is missing the first four concertos) set of the Mozart Piano Concertos. I've spent a good month listening to Mr Barenboim's interpretations. There is much that delights, and perhaps a few things that do not. First, I don't think that you will find a recording with a finer orchestra than the Berliners. They are strong and powerful, yet not at the expense of that transperancy that so many modern Mozartians love. Robust I think is the perfect word to describe them, and the same could also be said for Barenboim. He is not at all shy about playing Mozart with more than a little bit of power. Nor is he shy at straying from the Urtext. It evidences a great familiarity with the pieces, to be sure, but, while I didn't find these brief forays as obtrusive as say those by Brendel, I can't say that I care for them all that much either. A young Mozart once advised a talented violinist, prone to such extravegent additions, that he might be better served just playing what was written, and perhaps he might say the same to Mr Barenboim.
I can't help comparing the present set to Askenazy's recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra. I believe that Ashkenazy has the edge as far as emotional depth. Very rich and perhaps dark at times, whereas Barenboim gives a decidedly more playful reading: never quite so slow or dramatic (or indeed tragic). Also, Ashkenazy's cadenzas are far superiour; more Mozartian, I would say. In the end, which is better? I am inclined to side with Askenazy. And yet I am not at all disappointed with this recording. It makes for a very rewarding listening. It is a welcome edition to my collection, and I don't think that you can go far wrong with them.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barenboim revisits the Mozart Piano Concertos 13 Aug 2011
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic commenced this cycle in the last years of Karajan's reign and concluded it in the late 1990s. Compared with his EMI cycle from the 1960s, I would not necessarily say that Barenboim's interpretations have deepened; but his technique is still masterly, and the Berliners are a finer ensemble than the English Chamber Orchestra (their virtuosity throughout K 449 and the last movement of K 466 is astounding). The sound-engineers match their excellence.

One could argue that Danny's reluctance to depart from the ur-text is a failure of nerve. Modern scholarship has demonstrated the embroidery was the order of day in Mozart's own time. A concerto such as K 537 desperately needs it given the state of the manuscript. Barenboim plays it too straight.

Even so, these are sunspots. Barenboim demonstrates that a modern-day orchestra, judiciously conducted, can deliver a cycle of Mozart Piano Concertos that is just as characterful and transparent as its period practice counterparts. Not one of these performances may have the stature of Gilels in K 595 Mozart: Piano Concerto No.27; Concerto For Two Pianos K.365; Schubert: Fantasie D. 940 [Germany] or Uchida (I) in K 488 Mozart: Piano Concerti 22 & 23 but they are unfailingly perceptive and musical.

This cycle has legs and long ones at that.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 13 Sep 2014
By usamadeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Very Good. Best Mozart Piano Concertos.
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