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Customer Review

4 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloodletting and Boredom, 28 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos.27 in B flat, K.595 & 20 in D minor, K.466 (Audio CD)
Abraham Lincoln was not only the Sixteenth President of the United States of America. According to some, he was also a Vampire Slayer of no mean order. If so, his services are required. Resurrect him at once! An adversary worthy of his mettle is at hand.

No, I am not referring to the usual Period Practice Nosferatus - the likes of Jeggy, Rene Jacobs, Pale Bill Christie, Corporal Hogwood and what not: Abe - don't waste your Holy Water on these lightweights. No, a genuine Vamp lurks in the twilight of the recording studio: Count Claudio Abbado the Impaler.

The former chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic almost gave the game away in his recent recording of Fidelio. Check out the cover. That's a vamp. His fangs are nearly visible too. Add a cape and Abbado could walk imperiously onto the set of Twilight with Kirstin Stewart in train.

Athirst for sanguinary feasts, Abbado loves nothing more than to sing his fangs into Mozart and suck him dry until he is a pale and anaemic imitation of the composer whom we all adore. Under his tutelage, the so-called Orchestra Mozart is transformed from a dog-ordinary HIPster ensemble into a dog-ordinary chamber-orchestra playing at modern-day pitch (listen to their barnyard yapping at 1'09", 1'19" and 1'28" in the prelude of K 595 - the strings are also regularly monstered by the flautist and the phrasing at 2'37" in the first movement is hideous). Even if she is no Gilels, Pires is as musical as ever (she does not use a lot of pedal) but the innate vitality of these scores is drained away by the nefarious figure on the podium and his vassals. The recording is crystal clear enough albeit a tad recessed - which renders the bloodletting even more gruesome.

How putrid this is: it's an update of Mozart as a Dresden China figurine which has been drained of its blood. Hélène Grimaud refused to perform any more Mozart Piano Concertos with Abbado. I would like to think that the fiery French pianist had had enough of his Pale Rider ways.

Four stars for Pires, one star for Count Claudio Abbado the Impaler and his "Orchestra Mozart".

Abe - sharpen up that crucifix!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Mar 2013 20:14:14 GMT
david says:
I fell under the spell of Anda and the Salzburg Mozarteum, and not just for the divine Elvira Madigan, but for the most consistently accomplished playing ...and those delightful cadenzas created by Anda. Sure, there is room for one or two other recordings of individual concertos, but as a set, I think Anda is still the one.

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 21:26:22 BDT
Of course not a useful review of this recording - but an amusing read nevertheless

Posted on 10 Jun 2013 21:52:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jun 2013 21:53:41 BDT
david says:
I thought the Pires first try on Erato, with various conductors, was fairly undistinguished in all respects and not just her playing, it was simply lifeless. A change of conductor and orchestra, especially in these works, rarely saves a poor soloist. Also, I am wary of pianists who re-record complete cycles, or who come late to the dinner table to pick over a few choice morsels. It rarely works. In both cases that magical childish delight in Mozart has gone; you either do it right the first time coming to it fresh, then leave it alone, or don't bother at all. I still can't get over that dreadful recording of No 21 by an over seasoned Pollini, it actually upset me to the point of nausea: it is nice to compare, but listening to bad records can seriously pollute ones enjoyment of music and, not least, damage ones pocket. I have come to respect my sixth sense, call it a hunch, but Pires is enough to warn me off, and partnered by Abaddo is a marriage made in hell. Two oldies, inside and out.
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

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