Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart, Haskil, Baumgartner|
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos.13 & 20; Piano Sonata K. 280 [Germany]
Haskil's Mozart - Like No Other
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 03/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Clara Haskil is one of, if not the single greatest keyboard performer of Mozart in my opinion. Haskil's Mozart interpretations are light, graceful and straightforward, but do not mistake them for wimpy! While many pianists precociously decorate their Mozart, Haskil simply lets the music speak for itself. The results show Mozart in a refreshingly serious light. Due to her late start in the recording studio we don't have a complete cycle to compare to the likes of Geza Anda, but the concertos she did tackle, she did so thoroughly. In fact, her recording of Mozart's 20th Concerto with Ferenc Fricsay and Berlin RSO featured on this disc is one of four studio performances I own, the others being accounts with Igor Markevitch, Bernard Paumgartner and Henry Swoboda. This 1954 account is as magical as the others, but her special musical understanding with Fricsay yields its own unique moments. Yet the treat for me was the recording of the 13th Concerto with Rudolf Baumgartner and the Festival Strings Lucerne in stereo from 1960, the first time I have heard her play this work. The CD concludes with two other 1960 performances -- Piano Sonata K. 280 and 12 Variations K. 265 (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star for us lay folks). The only problem is that K. 280 also appears on a DG Originals disc I own of Haskil performing Mozart's 19th and 27th Concertos with Fricsay (see my review). Well those of you familiar with my reviews know how I hate duplicates, but I'll live with it when it's Haskil and Mozart!"
Interesting but Mixed
laguna_greg | Guess where in CA USA | 07/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been in love with Clara Haskil's playing since childhood. She is one of the most involved players that you can find on disk, and that's saying something. Somewhat unfortunately, I found this disk a little uneven both in the artistic realization and the quality of the recording.
The best thing on the disk is the variations on "ah vous dirai-je, Maman." Haskil gives a master class in how to shape a sinuous and lyrical phrase with nothing more than a straight scale up and down the keyboard. Every note of it is played with the utmost artistry and intention, although she doesn't play all the repeats as marked. The disk is worth the price for this performance alone.
The K466 concerto is very convincing, except that the recording comes off a little muffled. It is sometimes difficult to hear exactly what Haskil is doing; the effect is a little too restrained. The lows are very low, and the highs are just not climactic enough in this, one of Mozart's most dramatic instrumental compositions. It certainly isn't because of the players, as one can hear them shaping a phrase beautifully and perfectly together. So it's a technical thing sadly.
Haskil's playing is perfectly articulate here, with a really lovely tone quality and an amazingly nuanced sense of the phrase. I get annoyed by certain 19th century manners e.g. starting every single trill on the principal note rather than the upper note as is the practice today; the cadenzas are brilliantly played but are obviously the work of a 19th century composer and are not at all idiomatic. I don't recognize them, so they're not Hummel, Beethoven, and certainly not Mozart. Aside from that, I'd recommend the performance to anyone. Haskil's sense of the architecture in the development section of the first movement is captivating.
The K413 is again beautifully played. However, the 1st movement lacks energy and the third seems to, dare I say it, lack an imagination from this most imaginative artist. The recording is of better sound quality and dynamic range than the first selection. But Baumgartner is less sympathetic a partner than the elegant Fricsay, and the orchestral ensemble is not as perfect. And I don't know what happened to Haskil. The playing is squeaky clean and perfectly controlled rhythmically, but it just doesn't seem to have hardly any oomph in the brilliant textures that Mozart gives us in the opening Allegro. The second movement is convincingly lyrical, but the third is a disappointment. This movement is one of Mozart's most innovative and striking uses of the Rondo form with an amazing orchestration, yet I found Haskil's playing of it rather boring and monochrome.
The F-major sonata, on the other hand, is just a poor programming choice. It's a dog, one of the weakest of Mozart's compositions for solo piano that probably should never have been published. Haskil does what she can with it, but even she cannot overcome the pedestrian nature of the tunes and the construction."