"Like many others in this series, this is a gem from the Columbia Masterworks back catalogue, beautifully restored and presented in this DSD transfer onto SACD. This late era analogue recording has excellent frequency response and dynamic range, and there is virtually no tape hiss. As in other recordings of this period from Columbia, there is a clearly articulated stereo image, which comes out vividly on this transfer.As for the performances, little needs to be said, other than the fact that they are already established classics in the Mozart concerto repertoire. If you love Mozart and don't have it, get it; if you already have it, and want to hear it as never before, get it."
Piano concertos 20 and 27
Philip Greenspun | Cambridge, MA USA | 08/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Amazon catalog folks neglect to point out that this disk contains piano concerti #20 and #27. The master tapes date from 1978 and 1980 and are clean and without hiss. I give the disk 4 stars because the material is so familiar, the disk is only single-layer (i.e., it won't play in a regular CD player like the Telarc or Hyperion SACDs), and Sony has hardly bothered to make any new recordings for this format. But if you have an SACD player and you want to listen to Mozart piano concertos 20 and 27, this is your disk..."
Warhorses are still great music!
John L. Anderson | Lynchburg, VA United States | 01/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
".... These are two beautiful compositions, that have been beautifully performed and beautifully recorded and beautifully rendered in the SACD format. Get this disc and any other SACD titles your heart desires, whether it's a recording of a warhorse or not. It's still great music and it will still move you."
Sensitive perfornances of great piano concerti
David J. Friedlander | Columbus, Ohio United States | 11/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recommend this disc without reservation.
The music here was groundbreaking when Mozart first composed and performed it. Yet the two works on this disc are quite different from each other. They were written at two different junctures of Mozart's short life. One comes from the height of his ascent in Vienna and the other from his last year on Earth.
The first concerto, #20 in d minor was Mozart's first concerto written in a minor key. It begins with an orchestral murmur that gradually intensifies. This might be Mozart's most overtly angry creation. The pathos never lets up throughout the entire movement. The soloist is challenged by the problem of pacing so the music can build gradually and not peak too soon. Perahia is a complete master at this and he is always in control from first notes to the last. His technique is a marvel of lightness and perfection. He never misses anything and he shapes his phrases with total naturalness. The middle movement is very serene and by Mozartian standards, rather repetitive. Nevertheless the gentle romanze and it's simple theme are an effective balance to the storms that came in the first movement. The Finale returns to the frenetic dark colors of the opening. This is a monumental battle that was a great inspiration to Beethoven and his later piano concerti. He even wrote cadenzas for this music that are still played today. Perahia shows his faultless technique again here and despite the brilliance of the piano part, he is always on top of the proceedings and never lags behind by even the smallest fraction of a beat. This is an important concerto and this version is one of the best and probably will always be important. You can't lose by acquiring it unless you plan on buying the entire set of Mozart piano concerti as a set.
The other concerto on the disc, #27 was the last one Mozart wrote for the piano. One cannot avoid feeling the sense of leave-taking that is in this disorienting music. On the surface it seems consoling and almost sweet but there is a troubling pathos underneath that is never more than a heartbeat away. Mozart uses some hair-raising modulations of the theme to go to far tonal reaches that even Beethoven didn't traverse. When I hear this concerto, I am always saddened by it. It seems to speak of a life that was far too short and tragic all too much of the time. Poor Mozart. That is what I feel when this plays. For that reason I actually shy away from it because even though the pathos is not obvious, it cuts very deep and leaves me with a weighty sadness that isn't easily removed. The rest of the concerto doesn't affect me as much. The Finale is based on a little art song Mozart wrote that translates as "Waiting for Spring." This happy little tune that supposedly came from his pet bird is handled in a way that again speaks in two voices. One is whistling in a carefree manner, but the other is longing for the next spring that will never come. Mozart died before the year ended.
If you buy this disc and like Mozart, you will probably play it often. If you tune in too closely though, it may bring emotions you might not have bargained for. Still, better to feel joy and sadness that to go through life avoiding it. I recommend this disc without reservation."