on November 1, 2000
The Penguin guide to classical music described these recordings as "golden". I agree, they're fantastic. Ashkenazy is awesome, and the Philharmonia Orchestra sounds gorgeous. The recorded sound is wonderful, and the soloist/conductor and orchestra are in total harmony. Musical bliss...However, I recommend buying ALL of Mozart's piano concertos. There are so many wonderful concertos that are not included in this set. Although not all of them are on the level of 23 or 20, most of them are really good and you won't want to miss them. Starting with 9, they're all good, though some of them are stronger in one movement than the the other two movements. As far as Ashkenazy's complete set of Mozart's piano concertos, all the recordings are excellent on that set except for the concerto for two pianos (NO. 10), the other pianist in that recording didn't have chemistry with Ashkenazy. I recommend buying the complete set with Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra along with a better performance of No. 10. If you already own a complete Mozart piano concertos set and just want to check this set out, then these two CD's are the perfect place to look.
on March 3, 2004
I received this 2 cd set as a gift and have played it many times - especially the slow movements which are so ethereal and soul-wrenching - and notably Vladimir Ashkenazy's interpretations of the concertos numbers 23, 24, and 20.
The pianist is ably assisted by the incomparable Philharmonia Orchestra and the sound - for the most part - is more than adequate. Three of the concertos are DDD and two are ADD - but that does not detract in any way from the excellence of Ashkenazy's "view" on Mozart nor do the transfers diminish the artistry of Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
A great buy and one that should be in all collections even if you have other interpretations; he even surpasses Alfred Brendel at times in some of the concertos - notably Nr. 23 in A major, K488
Timothy Wingate from Ottawa, Canada
on December 15, 2001
Unbeatable! Maybe there's another set which includes Ashkenazy doing the 22nd,26th,and 27th, plus #12 to #19. But this collection is more than enough,and includes every one of my personal favorites (though the others mentioned are in the sky too). Each of these performances is nothing less than phenomenal,and you'll be listening for years (hopefully decades) to come. The only question is ,"Why don't more people know about this kind of music, artistry, and recording?"...If you have no MOZART PIANO CONCERTOES,this is perhaps the best way to start!!
on February 26, 2004
Hi to All
I am a very conservative fan of Mozart. I always buy one work from different performers to find the best for my soul...If the topic is Mozart I examine more carefully...I was very worried about Ashkenazy's Mozart interpretation before I listen to this cd...After I listened this cd I saw that there was nothing to get worried about :)
I always see and feel Ashkenazy as the king of the romantic era...He gives a great feeling to this Era's music...he touches to your soul..that was why I was worrying about his performance on Mozart...Because Classical era has a very different style of performing...and Mozart has much more difference even its in own era...on this cd we see the influence of his romantic interpretation...but it doesnt disturb you...it even adds something new to the mozart soul...maybe I felt this because of the piano's tone but sometimes you feel like it has to continue like a chopin ballade or a rachmaninov prelude...
Overall it is a touching performance of Mozart's piano concertos...especially in the second movement of 23th piano concerto in A maj...but it is not a mozartaen kind...
Romantic interpretation of this Great Music...something different and sounds nice...
M. Can EL
on December 17, 2002
Here are several of the late concertos, in one mid-priced package, wonderfully played by both pianist and orchestra. These performances are taken from the cycle Ashkenazy did with the fabulous Philharmonia (late 70s through the mid 80s.) A very high level was established and maintained throughout these recordings. An earlier incarnation of this release lured me into purchasing his complete set of concertos. It really is quite a fantastic cycle--both sound and performance--which has been highly praised by many for years.
Ashkenazy handles the dramatic aspects of 20 without becoming too stormy. II is especially beautiful. There's a fluent, melting lyricism in his playing and the orchestra sounds just heavenly. In 21, the Philharmonia strings are gorgeous and Ashkenazy (who conducts this entire cycle from the keyboard) plays with a freshness of discovery few others have matched. I am inclined to say that Ashkenazy's 20 and 21 are as good as any despite very strong competition from the classic Serkin/Szell (CBS) in 20 and from Casadesus/Szell (CBS) and Serkin with the LSO under Abbado (DG) in 21.
Ashkenazy's 23 is serene with gorgeous orchestral support; he brings out the beauty of the music without any unwanted preciosity. 24 can sound heavy, but again, it's the music's delicacy and serenity that are emphasized here. Ashkenazy's tone is attractive and the sheer beauty of the Philharmonia seduces me. These are enchanting performances. 25 benefits from Ashkenazy's nuance and sensitivity--he makes it really sing. My favorite 23 is Curzon/Kertesz (London), and don't overlook Brendel/Marriner (Philips). When it comes to 24, Curzon/Kertesz wins again, but Ashkenazy is not far behind--nor is the fabulous Moravec/Marriner on the Hanssler label. And for 25, Barenboim (EMI) just nudges out the recording at hand as my absolute favorite.
So, everything here is either as good as it gets or the next best thing (which is very good indeed). This release gets my unqualified recommendation. Please note that 25 is split between the two discs. And don't forget that the complete set can be had for a very reasonable price.
on December 26, 1999
What's more amazing: The fact that one can get almost all the "good" Mozart piano concertos for such a low price, or the fact that Vladimir Ashkenazy is playing them? Either way you look at it, this CD is a must-buy for any true Mozart fan, and casual listeners will appreciate the bargain value. Ashkenazy's individuality shines most when playing his own cadenzas: by combining his knowledge of Mozart's style with his own contemporary tastes, Ashkenazy delivers some delightful virtuoso work.
Of course, when it comes to the written note, Ashkenazy is just as meticulous. For example, his deliberate style in the piano exposition of the 20th Piano Concerto brings even more emotional tension to an already amazing work. Even in complicated 16th-note runs, Ashkenazy never loses sight of a movement's mood; his interpretation brings a certain personality to all the works. Mozart would have loved it.
The Philharmonia does an excellent job in backing up the piano. Never competing, always complementing the piano, the orchestra gets it "just right," although most of this is probably due to Mozart's perfectly balanced orchestrations.
All in all, a perfect collection of Mozart's most popular (if not also the best) piano concertos. If you don't buy it, you'll be missing out big-time!
on May 16, 2003
For someone just starting to explore the realm of Mozart Concertos, congratulations, as you'll find a range of rich emotions that seem to deviate from his reputation as a perky-music composer. While the collection here is solid, the absence of his last concerto #27 would be the only regret. If you prefer to feel Mozart's tender and emotional side, 20, 21 (over-exposed), 23 and 27 are must hears. Check out Ashkenazy's 23/27 combo on London with Philharmonia and especially Murray Perahia's riveting 20/27 combo with the English Chamber Orchestra on the CBS label, both recorded in the early 80's.
on July 2, 2002
This music is simply beautiful. I love classical piano, and this work is incredible. I cannot tell you how beautiful this CD is. The best part might be that this is actually 2 long-running CD's for the price of one! There are not words for this work's beauty, and if you are still living without this CD, your life is lacking. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not kidding. This is one great CD.
on January 14, 2004
Ashkenazy was a splendid Mozartian. I bought his entire cycle of Mozart piano concerto (which is available in a budget box set) and that proved to be one of the best investments of my life. I've listen to it like everyday.