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Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 & 27 CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Kremerata Baltica
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Audio CD (12 July 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B003NB0XHS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,034 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Digital Booklet: Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 & 27
Digital Booklet: Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 & 27
Album Only

Product Description

Since his international debut as an astonishing child prodigy in the early 1980s, Evgeny Kissin has matured into one of the finest piano virtuosos of the age. His phenomenal keyboard technique and impeccable artistry continue to astound and amaze audiences and critics alike, leading The Washington Post to call Kissin "one of the world's greatest artists".
Kissin continues his fruitful relationship with EMI Classics with this new recording of two of Mozart's most famous piano concerti: Nos. 20 in D minor and 27 in B-flat Major. This electrifying recording, with Kissin conducting the orchestra Kremerata Baltica from the keyboard, is one that his legion of admirers is certain to embrace.
Concerto no.20 is the first (and one of only two) piano concerti that Mozart wrote in the minor key. It was a work greatly admired by Beethoven who kept it in his own concert repertoire for performance.

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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 29 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tempted by the eulogies from fellow reviewers whose tastes I trust, I picked up this disc for a song and found myself in possession of a dazzler.

The contrast between the dark, D minor and the more insouciant, although still occasionally wistful, B flat concerto, makes for an apt pairing. This is the same programme that Mitsuko Uchida offered with the Cleveland in an issue around the same time (slightly later) and both artists direct from the keyboard - but there the resemblance ends: Uchida is all filigree lightness and reserve, whereas Kissin goes for the Big Band sound and some very flashy passage-work. I love both approaches and make no invidious comparisons but this is obviously far removed from the period sensibility and gives us roistering, full-fat interpretation which emphasises the Romantic Mozart as a predecessor to Beethoven, using the latter's cadenzas in K.466 and the composer's own in K.595. Not that these are ponderous performances; Kissin is fleet, fiery and exuberant, clocking up timings which are by no means extravagant and applying rubato sparingly. His fluency is dazzling and his grandeur reminiscent of old-school pianists like Gilels. Some seem to think that Kissin's best is behind him as a child prodigy but on this showing he is very much in command of his art here in his mid-thirties.

I know nothing of his band but they sound like a big orchestra rather than a chamber group and they play superbly. HIPsters will hate this recording as I much as I love it.
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Format: Audio CD
Unlike K 595, there is no definitive performance of K 466 this side of the Pearly Gates. There are champions aplenty; I have yet to encounter a single performance where its kerygma is immolated into cinders and ash. That being said, Kissin's performance of the D Minor is a pretender of royal lineage to the throne. For those who suffer from the fatigue of K 466-itis, the Day of the Phoenix has come.

This is Mozart writ large as he should be, not limping around apologetically as an inconsequential, all-too-containable charmer on a clapped-out instrument which should belong in a match-factory at best.

The pianism on display here is phenomenal but not precocious. One senses that Kissin is mustering his art to give vent to the demonry and desolation that lie at the heart of the first two movements: it so works. The `per aspera ad astra' (through hardship to the stars) address of the Finale is superbly handled. This is my first encounter with the Kremmerata Baltica (whoever in the hell they are): they bring both poetry and symphonic power to bear on both scores. It is such a relief to hear Mozart being played by something more than a glorified string quartet.

Whether Mozart was consciously aware of it or otherwise, K 595 is an act of valediction. A few months after its composition, he confided to Constanze, "You cannot imagine how slowly time goes when you are not with me! I can't describe the feeling; there is a sort of sense of emptiness, which hurts - a certain longing which cannot be satisfied and hence never ends but grows day by day." Sure, K 595 transfigures this anguish into a peace that "passes all understanding" but it is still an act of renunciation: of life, its trinkets and our petty aspirations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kissin is imposing in his dual role as soloist and conductor 9 Sept. 2010
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Evgeny Kissin will turn forty next year! It's hard to forget the frowzy-haired ten-year-old prodigy, or to totally believe that his best phase ended around ten years ago. The latter-day Kissin still wows audiences, and his technique remains superlative, with grandeur, power, and fleetness combined seamlessly. Yet his most recent phase, as he shifted labels from RCA/BMG to EMI, shows a tendency toward conventionality. His Beethoven concerto cycle was a mixed bag, perhaps because he was paired with the octogenarian Colin Davis, and I wonder if I overpraised their first collaboration in Mozart. My love for Kissin makes it hard to see him anywhere but at the summit.

In order to love this pairing, first dark, then light, of the D minor Concerto K. 466 and the B-flat major K. 595, you have to renounce any shred of period style. This is romantic Mozart, with a foretaste of Beethoven implied in the D minor. Colin Davis is here replaced by Kisisn conducting the Kremerata Baltica from the keyboard; although a chamber group, they play as symphonically as Kissin could wish for. The pianist uses rubato fairly discreetly, and his tone is scaled down except for big outbursts. Beethoven's long cadenza is played in improvisatory fashion, with the emphasis on Beethoven rather than Mozart -- it's very impressive. If you can adjust, the whole reading is more than satisfying on its own terms. The only distressing part is the tubby, bottom-heavy recording; the piano is also a bit distant and dull.

I suppose one could say that K. 595 is Figaro to the Don Giovanni of K. 466. Kissin adheres to his robust but loving approach. In the extended orchestral introduction he proves as adept leading from the keyboard as the young Perahia and, more recently, Pollini; of the three, he has the most personality. Mozart's final piano concerto doesn't find the composer as playful as he often is in the major keys; it sparkles but with undertones of melancholy. I was on the verge of underpraising this CD, but in the slow movement of K. 595 Kissin's grasp of both the solo and orchestral parts is quite impressive. He evokes joy in the finale without making it scamper across the field on tiptoe. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Kissin in his new double role, and I relish the implicit poke in the eye to anemic period Mozart playing. Back to the future, indeed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kissin is well-prepared to join the great Mozartians. 13 Dec. 2010
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After his first recording on EMI of Mozart's No. 24 Piano Concerto (conducted by Sir Colin Davis) a few years ago, Kissin returns to Mozart's piano concerto repertoire here, this time with himself directing the orchestra from the keyboard.
Relatively few Russian pianists laid claims on Mozart, with perhaps the more famous exception of Emil Gillels.
The great Sviatoslav Richter seldom touched Mozart, while Horowitz was an atypical Mozartian.
Not so with Kissin.
His first outing in the dual pianist-conductor role in the Nos. 20 and 27 piano concerti, arguably two of the greatest of Mozart's piano concerti, demonstrates an exceptionally seasoned approach to Mozart's style.
These two works are famous for their dramatic nature, while the No. 20 is an echo of the great Mozart opera 'Don Giovanni' in its opening movement, and the No. 27 'Le Nozze di Figaro'.
Kissin is fully capable in both instances in bringing out the musical contents of the 6 movements. The Kremerata Baltica under his direction gives totally apt support, while the soloist at the keyboard play with utter finesse and taste.
Indeed, happily gone are the days when a grown up Kissin played in the more robotic style of a keyboard technician. We already has had a hint in that No. 24 concerto recording, and we are now fully assured with the present performances.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recording of two wonderful concertos 25 Aug. 2010
By P. Sekhri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Kissin rarely disappoints and he certainly doesn't here. HIs Mozart is thoughtful, restrained, but always intensely musical. Valdimir Horowitz once said that Chopin should be played more like Mozart and Mozart more like Chopin. Kissin delivers a wonderful performance of both concertos. The second movement of the D minor concerto is especially achingly beautiful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Bodied Mozart in an Age of Cholera and Starvation V2 19 Aug. 2013
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Unlike K 595, there is no definitive performance of K 466 this side of the Pearly Gates. There are champions aplenty; I have yet to encounter a single performance where its kerygma is immolated into cinders and ash. That being said, Kissin's performance of the D Minor is a pretender of royal lineage to the throne. For those who suffer from the fatigue of K 466-itis, the Day of the Phoenix has come.

This is Mozart writ large as he should be, not limping around apologetically as an inconsequential, all-too-containable charmer on a clapped-out instrument which should belong in a match-factory at best.

The pianism on display here is phenomenal but not precocious. One senses that Kissin is mustering his art to give vent to the demonry and desolation that lie at the heart of the first two movements: it so works. The `per aspera ad astra' (through hardship to the stars) address of the Finale is superbly handled. This is my first encounter with the Kremmerata Baltica (whoever in the hell they are): they bring both poetry and symphonic power to bear on both scores. It is such a relief to hear Mozart being played by something more than a glorified string quartet.

Whether Mozart was consciously aware of it or otherwise, K 595 is an act of valediction. A few months after its composition, he confided to Constanze, "You cannot imagine how slowly time goes when you are not with me! I can't describe the feeling; there is a sort of sense of emptiness, which hurts - a certain longing which cannot be satisfied and hence never ends but grows day by day." Sure, K 595 transfigures this anguish into a peace that "passes all understanding" but it is still an act of renunciation: of life, its trinkets and our petty aspirations.

Magisterial as his K 595 is, Kissin seems less intent than Gilels to fathom this Zen-like state of tranquility. In his defence, Eugeny could argue that he lens the work more dramatically than elegiacally. He is entitled to do so. On its own terms, it's thrilling even if it does not unhorse his predecessor.

This disc - a winner on all fronts - comes without the imprimatur of Father Melchizedek OP, the High Priest of Period Practice, or his lowly acolyte `Carl Sagan', self-proclaimed Lord of the Deadland who gleefully anathematizes this disc on behalf of the Taliban. Nietzsche's Last Man joins them in this act of condemnation: "Before us, all men were stupid."

Ignore their prattle. This is gun stuff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High calorie Mozart 29 Aug. 2013
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tempted by the eulogies from fellow reviewers whose tastes I trust, I picked up this disc for a song and found myself in possession of a dazzler.

The contrast between the dark, D minor and the more insouciant, although still occasionally wistful, B flat concerto, makes for an apt pairing. This is the same programme that Mitsuko Uchida offered with the Cleveland in an issue around the same time (slightly later) and both artists direct from the keyboard - but there the resemblance ends: Uchida is all filigree lightness and reserve, whereas Kissin goes for the Big Band sound and some very flashy passage-work. I love both approaches and make no invidious comparisons but this is obviously far removed from the period sensibility and gives us roistering, full-fat interpretation which emphasises the Romantic Mozart as a predecessor to Beethoven, using the latter's cadenzas in K.466 and the composer's own in K.595. Not that these are ponderous performances; Kissin is fleet, fiery and exuberant, clocking up timings which are by no means extravagant and applying rubato sparingly. His fluency is dazzling and his grandeur reminiscent of old-school pianists like Gilels. Some seem to think that Kissin's best is behind him as a child prodigy but on this showing he is very much in command of his art here in his mid-thirties.

I know nothing of his band but they sound like a big orchestra rather than a chamber group and they play superbly. HIPsters will hate this recording as I much as I love it.
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