This is a wonderful performance of these 2 concerti, with excellent ensemble from the CEO and Abbado.
It is up there with Perahia, Schiff et al. Especially better because of the embracing of dynamics and passion, perhaps it bears better comparison with Ashkenazy.
Anyway, the only reason this is not better known is because it is not part of a boxed set, Pires just has not done that thing. This is outstanding Mozart playing, and is not 'just another mozart concerto recording'. Deserves a place on the critical mozartian's shelf.
And the sound is top notch, very transparent with an absence of highlighting of instruments, but with enough presence.
I have lots of CDs of Mozart's works - both orchestral and piano, but I really love the playing of Maria Joao Pires. In fairness I have no technical knowledge, but somehow she captures the romantic quality of the music but seems to have the ability to combine it with the crispness that attracts me to Mozart. I intend to treat myself to more of her piano interpretations, probably Chopin next.
I have only praise for the performance [of the Piano Concerto No. 21], Pires delivers it in a redeemingly Mozartian way. There is no obvious alternative coupling for these two concertos, and if there were it would have to be of remarkable quality to better this outstanding new disc.
Gramophone (London) / 01. February 1996
This could be the disc I take away to my desert island. Despite the wonderful instrumental playing here, I was always drawn to how Mozart, my favourite composer, sounded in the hands of my favourite conductor. In a word: sublime.
Dinuk Wijeratne, Musical Toronto / 26. January 2014