LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  September 2007

CLASSICAL September 2007

Subject:

Mozart PIano Concertos from Mark Bebbington

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 28 Sep 2007 16:23:33 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 11 in F major, K 413 (1782-83) [23:05]
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K 414 (1782) [26:53]
Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, K 415 (1782-83) [28:09]
Mark Bebbington (piano)
Orchestra of the Swan/David Curtis
rec. Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, 12 March 2006
Somm 066 [78:07]

Comparisons:  Ashkenazy/Decca, Bilson/Gardiner, Perahia/Sony, Schiff/Decca, 
Uchida/Philips


Given the huge discography afforded Mozart's piano concertos, a new recording 
has to be rather special to gain any leverage on the market.  Sad to say, this 
new Somm recording is neither special nor as rewarding as the comparison 
versions listed above.  However, it does possess some fine features that should 
be noted.  

Formed in 1996, the Orchestra of the Swan tends to specialize in new music and 
has commissioned numerous works in recent years.  This is a fine orchestra that 
executes the Mozart piano concertos in excellent fashion.  Pianist Mark 
Bebbington, who has garnered much praise for his recordings of British piano 
music, gives a sterling performance that is fluid and graceful while partnering 
expertly in dialogue with the orchestra.

The problem with the performances rests with the orchestra's director, David 
Curtis.  He might well be outstanding in conducting modern music, but his way 
with Mozart is problematic.  To come to the crux of the matter, I need to 
provide some background to the three concertos on the disc.  Mozart wrote them 
soon after his departure from Salzburg and arrival in Vienna.  His aim was to 
gain a fine reputation in Vienna and earn considerable monies.  As Mozart wrote 
to his father in the autumn of 1782, "These concertos are a happy medium between 
what is too easy and what is too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasing to 
the ear, and natural, without being vapid".

I would add that these three concertos, unlike a few of his more mature works in 
the medium, are relatively devoid of any profound utterances - brilliance, 
vitality and lyricism are the qualities that need to be highlighted.  However, 
Curtis employs slower tempos than those from the comparison performances, 
thereby dampening the music's brilliance and vitality.  I have nothing against 
slower than normal pacing as long as there are benefits to be gained, but no 
benefits are forthcoming from Curtis.  Instead, the performances come through as 
somewhat lumbering vehicles that fail to take flight.

Of greater damage is the soundstage listeners have to endure.  The upper 
strings are on the grainy side, bass response is boomy/poorly defined and  the 
piano tone is too wet and overly reverberant.  The absence of a bloom to the 
sound is a major detriment to a Mozart recording, and Curtis and his forces are 
not able to overcome this problem.

Don's Conclusions:  Given the slow tempos employed by Curtis and the rather odd 
and unattractive sonic properties, I am unable to put my stamp of approval on 
this new Somm recording.  The comparison versions are just the ones I listened 
to in conjunction with this review.  There are also many other alternative 
recordings of these three piano concertos that surpass the Somm.  One choice 
that comes to mind is the recent Arte Nova cycle featuring pianist Matthias 
Kirschnereit and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frank Beermann; 
it contains youthful and vibrant accounts of Mozart's earlier piano concertos 
that significantly best the heavy performances from Curtis and his orchestra.  
In any event, readers are advised to "take a pass" on the Somm; the competition 
is overwhelming.
--
Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager