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I don't think this series of three discs by Mitsuko Uchida and the ECO can be bettered. I have enthused about her Complete Mozart Piano Sonatas and the Concerti are just as good. Uchida has a real empathy with Mozart, I think, and you get the sense of love and joy in the music combined with magnificent musicianship.

She is crisp and sensitive in the quicker outer movements and has the power when needed to play as the orchestra's equal. In the slow movements Uchida's beautiful tone is a joy and she judges the mood perfectly, making them truly beautiful without a hint of sentimentality or Mozartkugel-flavoured kitsch. This is not easy in such over-exposed movements as the Andante of K467, for example, but she is absolutely exemplary in her empathy and restraint.

The English Chamber Orchestra are ideal in this repertoire. It is no coincidence that both Uchida and the great Murray Perahia chose them for their Mozart recordings. The orchestra - here under Jeffrey Tate - are vigorous, supple and responsive and again avoid any intrusion of the saccharine nonsense which mars some Mozart performances. You can almost hear the collective grins of the orchestra during some of Mozart's more outrageous show-off finales, and there is a fabulous understanding between them and Uchida who worked with the ECO a lot.

It seems to me that the only close competitor to this series is Murray Perahia's Complete Mozart Piano Concerti (also with the ECO) which are equally good, but weigh in at well over £60. And it's worth saying that on Radio 3's Building A Library, the reviewer said that he couldn't imagine even Mozart playing Mozart more beautifully than Murray Perahia, but still chose Uchida's recording of the Jeunehomme Concerto (K271, on Volume 3) as the best available. I'm not arguing with either part of that. In fact I've ended up with both Perahia and Uchida's sets and love both, but at budget price you simply can't go wrong with the Uchida set.

If you're undecided, I suggest you buy Volume 1, and I bet you'll only have to listen to the drama of the opening Allegro of K466 and the sheer beauty of its second movement Romance before wanting to order the other two.

The only minor drawback of these recordings is that the packaging looks rather cheap and the notes are sketchy, but the music more than compensates.

Mitsuko Uchida is, in my view anyway, one of the truly great Mozart players of our generation, and this is her at her magnificent best. Recommended without reservation.
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on 9 March 2011
If you really want the very best of the Mozart Concertos, you need this and Voume 2. On both disks Mitsuko Uchida gives a masterly interpretation of these wonderful works which range from the deeply tragic Nos 19 & 24 (the only two in a minor key) to the gentle lyricism of No. 21 and the melancholy beauty of No. 23. These are not to be missed as they represent the peak of Mozart's genius. Unfortunately you do need to buy both sets (Volumes 1 & 2) to get them all - the indispensable C min (No. 24) being in Volume 2 and the others mentioned above in Volume 1. The quality of both sets is very high both in recording and performance and I thoroughly recommend them!
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This pair of discs, very well and naturally recorded in the mid to late 1980's, is one of a group of such pairs which together encompass the 'great' piano concertos of Mozart played by this team. Both Uchida and Perahia in his total survey are partnered by the excellent English Chamber orchestra, the main difference being that Perahia leads them himself and Uchida has the attentive presence of Jeffrey Tate as the totally sympathetic conductor.

Both soloists play with impeccable taste and style which falls absolutely within the remit of the Classical period. However there are differences in touch and phrasing which are worth considering. In general I think it is fair to say that Perahia brings a slightly more forceful tone to bear throughout whereas Uchida has a more rounded, gentler touch. Perahia is slightly crisper in his articulation and Uchida is a touch more legato. These are very tiny differences and should not be exaggerated as these players are really providing very similar interpretations, just different sides of the same coin.

The presence of Tate as a conductor on this set is another significant difference as he ensures a greater degree of dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra and generally the orchestral contribution is more involving. This is not so much accompanying as partnering.

Without wishing to be in any way trite or controversial, I would be tempted say that the difference is a gender one - that of a masculine and feminine approach to the same viewpoint. It is as small but as noticeable as that. Tate is an advantage in so far as he enables the interplay of orchestral dialogue to be that little more interactive with the piano. This is a matter of balance that is easier for a conductor to encourage than the soloist who must, by definition, be otherwise engaged a great deal of the time.

In my disc collection I have both Perahia and Uchida as equal reference sets with various other contributions of note represented by the likes of Curzon, Imogen Cooper and Anderszewski. This is my personal choice of balance and as such I avoid making choices between Perahia and Uchida whom I view as equals in terms of musical satisfaction.

In conclusion therefore, I would strongly suggest that these recordings by Uchida deserve to be considered with the very best when it comes to potential choices for purchase.
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Mitsuko Uchida is not my kind of pianist, once very disappointed by her wishywashy rendition of Debussy's 12 etudes, but when she plays Mozart, few pianists can match. This set includes all of my favourite Mozart concertos and is sheer bliss to your ears from begining to end, filled with magical moments and noble poise.

Check out A.Rubinstein's RCA 2 disc set as well, quite a contrast to Uchida and Perahia's style but outstanding in its own right.
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on 3 December 2012
This double CD collection has some of Mozart's best ever piano concertos, all well executed by the brilliant Mitsuko Uchida and the equally brilliant English Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate. However, the recording is a little on the soft side and you have to really turn it up to enjoy the full glory of the concertos,hence only the 4 stars. Might have something to do with these being remastered recordings. Will still thoroughly recommend.
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on 17 April 2012
These recordings are classic Mozart - bright, fleet, elegant and profound. Soloist and orchestra bring out all the nuances in Mozart's musical and emotional palette. A delight.
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on 20 August 2011
These recordings were made in 1988/9, (in DDD format , but at that time probably 16bit 44khz) and reissued on these discs. Tne interpretation is delightful , and as I have a copy of the TV series 'Simply Mozart' by the same artists I bought these discs to complete the series.
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on 17 July 2013
Very disappointed, the "remastering was so intense that the piano sounded like a xylophone, all the guts taken out of it. What a shame as the underlying performance was superb. Would like to hear the original.
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on 3 September 2009
This is beautiful Mozart playing both by the orchestra and the soloist. The book of Proverbs says that " oil and perfume make the heart glad" I would gladly substitute 'music' for 'oil and perfume' and here there is a generous measure of gladness, pressed down and running over. Anyone wishing an introduction to Mozart's Great Piano Concertos can buy this with confidence and, unless they don't like Mozart's music, will find it a constant and continuing delight. Those with particular views of how the music should be played will find a plus here and a minus there, but I find these things are often minutiae and tell us more about the views and taste of the commentator than of the performance. As an instance of this, the Penguin Guide speaks of Uchidas's playing here as being like Dresden china and at a times a little over civilised. Well, I can take her civilised playing endlessly. If someone wants just one recording of this music, Uchida and Tate will stand comparison with many and the competition in this is very strong - Barenboim, Schiff, Perahia, Brendel, Ashkenazy. I would be very happy to have this as my only recording of these concertos but, in the end, I reserve the last star for my own favourites, Ashkenazy and Brendel. But then, that's just my view of it!
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on 11 May 2014
I've been trying to find some really good music to listen to while working / studying and finally I've found this! It's amazing to listen to while trying to concentrate on something as it gives some very pleasant background music while not being distracting. Only wish I'd listened to this years ago.
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