MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat, K. 482. Piano Concerto No. 23
in A, K. 482. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491.
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat, K. 449. Piano Concerto No.
25 in C, K. 503. Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466.
MOZART: Symphony No. 35 in D, K. 385 "Haffner." Piano Concerto No. 22
in E flat, K. 482. Horn Concerto No. 1 in D, K. 412/514. Symphony No. 36
in C, K. 425 "Linz."
Here are three superlative Mozart issues. Rudolf Buchbinder has enjoyed a rather quiet but solid career specializing in Viennese music. He was chosen by Nikolaus Harnoncourt to record the two Brahms concertos with the Concertgebouw. His discography also includes all of Haydn's piano sonatas, and, with the Vienna Symphony, all of the piano concertos of Mozart and Beethoven which he conducts from the keyboard. Twelve Mozart concertos were presented at the 2006 Vienna Festival at concerts to celebrate the pianist's 60th birthday along with the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. Six of the concertos are seen on these new DVDs and according to DVD credits all were recorded in Vienna's Musikverein May 7, 2006, which seems a bit unlikely—two concerts the same day? The performances are immaculately and stylishly played. The VPO is in fine form although they get little help from Buchbinder while he is playing, which is most of the time. Obviously things were rehearsed carefully, but then the VPO knows this music very well.
For 15 years the Berlin Philharmonic has given an annual concert in European centers to commemorate the date the orchestra was founded, May 1, 1882. Each year, the concert has been in a different city and in 2006, to mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, the concert was given in Prague. It was a very special concert presented in the beautiful Estates Theatre in Prague. Barenboim of course is an old hand at Mozart, having recorded most of the concertos with the BPO conducting from the keyboard. The piano is placed with the keyboard in front enabling Barenboim to give many more cues to the orchestra (it's surprising Buchbinder didn't have the piano so placed). And Barenboim is extraordinary in this performance of Concerto No. 22, which is on a bigger scale Buchbinder's. The spectacular 30-year old horn virtuoso Radek Baborák, principal horn with the Czech Philharmonic before taking the same position in Berlin, plays Mozart's first horn concerto with extraordinary beauty and control. And its a pleasure to watch the dedicated playing of the BPO, which now includes a number of women, and to see Emanuel Pahud as principal flute.
5.l sound on all three DVDs is excellent, as is camera work. The Barenboim disk includes a considerable bonus: a 21-minute cultural portrait of Prague.
R.E.B. (May 2007)