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Piano Concerto 20, 21

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Product Details

1. Piano Concerto No. 20 In D Minor: 1. Allegro
2. Piano Concerto No. 20 In D Minor: 2. Romance
3. Piano Concerto No. 20 In D Minor: 3. Allegro Assai
4. Concerto No. 21 In C, KV 467: 1. Allegro
5. Concerto No. 21 In C, KV 467: 2. Andante
6. Concerto No. 21 In C, KV 467: 3. Allegro Vivace Assai

Product Description


Mozart's greatest piano concertos bring together so many elements identified with his style that they offer an ideal introduction to their composer's uniqueness. This is especially the case with the well-loved pair Nos. 20 and 21, which were produced in one fertile outburst in 1785. Here you will find both the dramatic flair and the comic high spirits of Mozart's tragic and comic operas, the last symphonies' breadth and polyphonic ingenuity (especially in the lengthy first movement of No. 21), and the conversational intimacy of the chamber music. This recording is one of several collaborations between conductor Jeffrey Tate and Mitsuko Uchida. In the wake of such legendary interpreters as Clifford Curzon, the Japanese pianist established a reputation in the '80s as one of the finest contemporary Mozarteans for her combination of poetic sensitivity and thoughtful involvement. Uchida plays with characteristic poise and never settles for superficial prettiness of sound (notice, for example, the sense of suspense she brings to the extended trill left hovering shortly into the soloist's entrance in No. 21). The restless, tragic momentum of No. 20 glows with inner fire, while Uchida's singing grace of line conveys an almost vocal warmth. There is sympathetic balance of soloist against orchestra (which features superb contributions from the winds), as well as a sure grasp of Mozart's larger structural symmetries. As an alternative to the extremes of period-instrument orthodoxy and romantic excess, this disc belongs in the collection of any lover of Mozart. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy, some delicious moments Jan. 11 2003
Format:Audio CD
As the saying goes, "Mozart is Music" and Uchida is Mozart! On this recording, you have two of the most popular Mozart piano concertos in modern performance(that is, played on a very big grand piano--not a fortepiano as they would've been in Mozart's day).
Uchida is crisp and technically correct, though perhaps, as some other reviewers have noted,lacking the passion of other artists' recordings. In the familiar No. 21 ("Elvira Madigan") the cadenzas are Uchidas. In No. 20 the cadenzas are Beethovens--thrilling!
The recording sounds as if it was done in a marble hall of a very grand Chateau, although it was probably done in Waltham Town Hall, London, with some discrete manipulation of the sound. The result is rich and resonant.
I'd personally recommend this for a classical music enthusiast who wanted just one CD of Mozart concertos. But perhaps its even better as a slightly obscure recording to give to a friend who already has a CD by another pianist. It's worth it for the track 3 cadenza alone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There are better versions available. Oct. 11 1999
Format:Audio CD
Uchida is without doubt one of the century's finest interpreters of Mozart's piano sonatas. However, her performances of his piano concertos are another matter. They are certainly not bad. She brings her unique, introspective touch to the keyboard, and the English Chamber Orchestra plays with grace and charm. But Uchida's soft touch doesn't work as well in the extroverted setting of Mozart's concertos. She captures little of the humor and flair that make these works so special. And Jeffrey Tate's direction sounds lifeless or bland. The two musicians work well together, particularly in the famous middle movement of No.21. But these versions are lacking in forward thrust, in that sparkle you find in the great recordings. The opening of No.20 is supposed to growl and stir in a melancholic fashion. This version opens tamely and without any tension, or any anticipation of greater things to come. And when Uchida's piano finally enters, her touch is so soft, you feel like you need to turn the volume up. Only on the Beethoven cadenzas does she really heat up, but the contrast between those passages and the rest of the concerto creates an unappealing inconsistency. Furthermore, the wind section of the ECO can sometimes wheeze and puff in a disjointed manner. I am surprised Amazon would highlight this recording, since Penguin and other critics don't have as many good things to say about it. Turn to Uchida for the solo piano works (although, even there, her serious, gentle approach seems to take much of the "zing" out of the faster movements). Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars It should be a 10 Oct. 5 2000
Format:Audio CD
I disagree with a couple of your reviewers who dispararage Uchida. I think she is great because of her touch, precision, accuracy (to the original intent of the composer), and I have all of her recordings and listen to them frequently.
When I heard the Sonata in A, I fell, and have been an absolute fan of Mitsuko Uchida ever since. I think I have all of her recordings except "Uchida Live," which I understand is out of print. If someone wants to sell me their copy (or if you know where I can obtain one), e-mail me at hjmch@aol.com.
I just wish Uchida would do all the Mozart concertos. If I am not mistaken, she has not recorded #15 and #16. Correct me if I am wrong.
I am on the alert list for every Uchida recording that is released, and I encourage everyone to do the same. It is a great experience to hear her play, and I select at least one recording each week for my automobile CD player. In Atlanta traffic, she soothes my nerves.
Howard J. McHenry
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good performance, but not a great recording July 1 2000
Format:Audio CD
I heard this recording twice when I was visiting a friend and I agree this is a good rendition by Uchida, but cannot compare to Svetlana Stanceva with Alberto Lizzio and the Mozart Festival Orchestra and does not rise to the heights of Vladimir Ashkenazy performance or Murray Perahia's. Reason is that something is missing in these performances: passion, emotional envolvement, surrendering (in the case of the Adagio in K466). I did not notice the languidness in the opening of the 20th., and I do not remember any burst of the Mozartian genious taking over the piano and orchestra. I give a four because it is a good performance, indeed, but I cannot accept it as a great recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Celestial. April 15 2000
Format:Audio CD
Very inspirational. Makes me want to sit down and practice for hours. But could I ever be Mitsuko Uchida? Indeed, could anybody? She has such a divine touch...perhaps inspired by Mozart himself(?). Her command of the keyboard, her intuitive genius for this music...listening to her play is like melting into bliss. Definitely superior than the recording made by Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic. Even if you consider any other recordings to be more definitive, it would be an utter SHAME to miss this recording by Uchida. I promise you!
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