Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
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jai | New Delhi, India | 11/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For Mozart lovers, the C Minor concerto is pure magic. I can never tire of listening to this most enchanting of concertos in the piano repertory. The great performances I have heard in the past have been with celebrated players-whether Vladimir Ashkenazy, Claudio Arrau, Friedrich Gulda or Maurizio Pollini. Usually I buy my recordings going by reputation of the soloist and the eminence of the orchestra and the conductor. On all three counts this 1996 recording featuring a Polish pianist, about whom I knew little, the Seattle Orchestra and a conductor I had definitely not heard of, this CD seemed an unlikely buy. But I went for it and am glad to report that I discovered a goldmine, especially in the virtuoso playing of Istomin. His measured playing of the marvelous theme and variations finale to the 24th piano concerto is astonishing in its range and virtuosity. The combination of these two concertos is not unusual but this recording clearly brings out Mozart's prodigious skills. Listen to the Andante of the C Major concerto-which has been used an abused in popular cinema-and the lyricism is bound to get to you. Istomin is clearly a fine pianist but the surprise package is the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, rarely if ever ranked alongside the top American orchestras-whether New York, LA, Philadelphia, Boston or Cleveland. But under Schwarz's baton, it plays as a well-oiled unit and the sound it produces is rich and resonant. It is only a slight dissatisfaction with the playing of the slow movement on K 491 that prevents me from giving this work five stars. But that is a small blip in what is otherwise a recording worth possessing."
One of the last recordings by an underrated legend
JOSHUA-LOUIS K. WEE | Singapore | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remembered seeing this cd (and the other Istomin Reference Recordings Beethoven Sonatas disc) at HMV back in 1997 and grabbing it (with the Beethoven cd) almost without thinking twice or hesitating even a split second: long before this state of the art HDCD recording was made the year before I was no doubt already familiar with Eugene Istomin as one of the great pianists of the 20th century during my first 22 years of listening to and appreciating classical music, but who was sadly known more for his landmark recordings as a chamber musician~accompanist with the legendary Issac Stern and Leonard Rose on the CBS Masterworks label. When I was growing up, I was always captivated by the magnificence and excellence of the Istomin~Rose~Stern Trio simply because all three of them performed their part of any recorded piece with equal tempo as well as pianissimo; they truly made a collective effort to make Beethoven's music sound like music written by Beethoven, Mozart sound like Mozart and likewise Schubert, et al. However I always found it very difficult to accept what appeared to be a fact and reality that those chamber pieces - and rarities like Beethoven's Triple Concerto - seemed to be the only recordings maestro Istomin ever made for CBS Masterworks when he recorded with CBS. Naturally I was delighted when Sony Classical finally reissued on CD the historic 1950s Istomin reading of Mozart's Concerto No. 14 with the legendary Pablo Casals conducting, and the one that's now available on Pearl appear to be one and the same... I later found out to my utmost dismay (and am still very much disappointed to this day) that Mr. Eugene Istomin, who has sadly passed on in October 2003, did record an array of romantic piano concertos in the 1960s and '70s for CBS: Beethoven's 4th and 5th, Brahms' 2nd, Chopin's 2nd, Rachmaninov's 2nd, and Tchaikovsky's 1st all of which were conducted by the great Eugene Ormandy, with the exception of Schumann's Concerto with Bruno Walter directing. What's deeply disappointing and disturbingly earthshattering is that CBS and now Sony did not seem to make any effort to reissue these superb legendary performances on CD some 30-40 years after they were made, and I was only all too fortunate to have stumbled upon old LP issues of these masterpieces several years back. Which makes these similarly historic great recordings of Mozart's C major (No. 21) and C minor (No. 24) readings so invaluable - and what better way to commemorate the late maestro Istomin's 70th birthday in 1996 than to record them on state of the art HDCD technology. A must-buy for any admirer of Eugene Istomin's music and his underrated genius!"
Terrific Recording of my Two Favorite Mozart Piano Concertos
S. Henkels | Devon, Pa United States | 12/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How can you go wrong??? For the person who feels intimidated by the very name MOZART, or thinks he may be a little "old" or even "dainty" (as many "tough guy" types may), this is the place to start. Yes, the Seattle,Mr. Swartz, and Mr. Istomin do their customary outstanding job. But the thing here is the MUSIC ITSELF. Both Allegro movements overwhelm with high drama. Honestly, my first listening to the 24th actually completely changed my view of music, and Mozart, a long time ago. Words cannot begin to express it. Same with the 21st, with it's equally enchanting Andante...So go ahead,especially novices, spend a little cash and buy this CD. You cannot be disappointed!"