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189 of 195 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2000
As a long-time fan of Vladimir Ashkenazy's playing, I could have been given no better Christmas present from my friend than this CD. Mozart is a sublime composer (one of my favourites), and I have rarely encountered someone who doesn't admire and respect his oeuvre. These concertos (20, 21, 23, 24 & 25) stem from his later period and are all beautiful examples of Mozart's skill at keyboard composition. The piano is superbly balanced against the orchestral accompaniment, and in these recordings Ashkenazy performs at his best. Lyrical and articulate (as he always is) he takes the concertos at a natural pace and allows them to breathe. As he is also conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra from the piano the recording has a sense of freshness, vitality, and grace that stems from the soloist's interaction with his orchestra under the dual hat of conductor. A worthy CD in every respect, I warmly recommend it for first-time Mozart listeners and well-learned Mozart scholars alike.
A point of interest regarding the two C major and the C minor concertos recorded here is that the cadenzas are composed by Ashkenazy himself; the other two by Mozart (K488) and Beethoven (K466).
A beautiful CD and a must-have for the collection.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2008
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...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2011
Some lovely recordings and for the price I paid this has to be the bargain of the year. The strings are powerful and Ashkenazy's piano is sufficiently forward in the mix to be clear without feeling too separate from the orchestra. My personal favourite is concerto 20 in D minor which is full of energy and vigour in the interplay between Ashkenazy and the orchestra whilst maintaining a brooding feeling of weight and pathos. Super recordings!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Unlike previous reviewers I am a mere amateur who just knows what I like and don't like. What's not to like about this wonderful elegant sound? It's like pure sweet water bubbling down from the hills in a pastoral landscape.

Bringing together two geniuses: Mozart and Ashkenazy with the backing of the Philharmonia, what could go wrong: answer - nothing, pure delight on a cold winter's afternoon or any time for that matter.Mozart: Great Piano Concertos
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on 30 July 2012
If you like your Mozart played by a more sizeable modern orchestra, as opposed to a "period" orchestra or even a small ensemble, then these are the performances for you. Ashkenazy is one of the premiere figures of our generation, and here he conducts the Philharmonia, as well as being the soloist. The performances are strong, crisp, clear, and possess great attention to detail, which makes us return to them again and again.

He can take his time, particularly in K466 and K491; the central movement of K491 may be a little slower than its marking of "Larghetto", but it is enormously moving and serene, a wonderful episode of calm between two towering peaks. These peaks are truly powerful and very much look forward to the 19th Century: alone among the Concertos, Mozart here uses a 19th Century wind Orchestra with clarinets and oboes, as well as a flute, bassoons, horns, trumpets and timpani.

K466 takes 34.5 minutes which is long, compared to other recordings, but, for me, it works: this was, after all, a major a revolutionary work of its time, in that it broached new ground ("it begins with a shudder", as Eric Blom has said and its key of D Minor is also a major break-through in Piano Concerto literature) and for many years was the only Mozart Concerto anyone knew properly. The opening movement is powerful, particularly in the development section, and the mysterious, brooding end to the movement is very impressive. The second movement flows leisurely (there is no indication of tempo), and its impassioned central section provides a strong - and in fact needed - contrast. Ashkenazy adopts a slightly slower tempo than usual, in the finale, but it is in keeping with his overall structure of this work. The D Major ending is not a "happy" one, but more of a relaxation; in K491, Mozart kept to the concero's basically tragic content.

The famous K467(can we PLEASE stop calling it the "Elvira Madigan Concerto"?) is, by contrast to K466, festive and sprightly, and Ashkenazy is not afraid to add a few embellishments, notably in the first entrance of the Piano in Movement 1. We know Mozart himself was not above doing similar such embellishments in performances of his piano works. The stream of melody which forms the central movement never fails to move us, but in fact there are pointers to the future with some noticeable dissonances. K488 has just the right amount of sunniness and melancholy, with an exhilarating finale, beautifully realised and played by Ashkenazy.

A slight problem perhaps exists in K503, where the 1st movement is on CD 1, the other 2 movements on CD 2, but this need not spoil your enjoyment of what is a lesser-known, but fascinating, Olympian work. It is, in fact, the culmination of Mozart's Piano Concertos. There were 2 more to come, but this work, like the "Jupiter" Symphony is very much a summing-up of his Concerto development from its earliest beginnings. It may not have the immediate appeal, from the point of view of actual melodies, since it is more detached, but it will grow on you. Again, the 1st movement is powerfully done, the enigmatic slow movement wends its way like a mountain stream; the finale is not all high jinks; it must not be played too fast and Ashkenazy gets the tempo just right: this is statuesque music, very appealing, but matching the grandeur of the opening movement and the detached, almost dream-like quality of the second.

A pity that the only missing work in this great set is K482, but we must hope that Amazon can give us this, along with other Mozart Concertos, since Ashkenazy has recorded them all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
C.D. chosen for my grandson who lives in in New Zealand. The family have a new electronic piano and, if wanted, it plays a selecton of classical music. One piece made my grandson feel happy and he would dance around the lounge. I could not place the particular concerto apart from knowing that it was composed by Mozart. On return to England I played my C.D. and I was correct and noted the number and the movement that he enjoyed. Hence the puzzle was complete and I sent this C.D. off to N.Z. A happy grandson!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2014
Ashkenazy is one of the greatst concert pianists of the 20th century. Mozart is one of the greatest composers of all time and his later piano concertos are among his finest works. Put both pianist and composer together and you get truly magnificent music.
I first bought this recording in vinyl when I was a university student in the 1960's. I haven't heard it for many years and it is as fresh and beautiful as it was then.
Mr.G.McMenemy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
Performance and registration are excellent!! Undoubtedly Vladimir Ashkenazy is one of the giants piano maestros and a great interpreter of Mozart
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on 19 June 2013
What can I say. Absolutely sublime recording in the hands of a master pianist. This recording highlights Mozart's amazing versatility in writing music that speaks to your very soul.
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on 15 May 2013
Ashkeazy gives fresh performances of these concertos which do not always conform to the more usual renderings in either tempo or phrasing. I just enjoy listening to them.
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