Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mozart - Piano Concertos 21,23 - Serkin,Abbado,LSO



The partnership of Rudolf Serkin and Claudio Abbado in Mozart is a fascinating one. They are such different musical personalities, yet they work remarkably well together, so that each performance becomes an artistic amalgam of two quite different artistic approaches. Abbado matches a natural spontaneous warmth (listen to the beguiling way the orchestra shapes the secondary theme in the first movement of the A major Concerto) with the utmost refinement of detail; whereas Serkin, patrician, authoritative, strong, is more self-consciously expressive when he deviates from a strictly rhythmic presentation of the melodic line in the same movement. The Adagio (of K488) shows the partnership at its most inspired, with music-making of memorable depth and eloquence based on an approach of deceptive simplicity. The excellent woodwind balance, about which RG commented when reviewing the original LP, is highly telling here and the sound overall is of DO's finest, with lovely piano timbre and a well-integrated orchestral sound picture, nicely resonant (if not so sharply detailed internally as with Decca's finest Compact Discs).
Robin Golding found the performance of K467 "probably the more successful of the two", and indeed it is most impressive, but I enjoyed K488 even more for its greater warmth and spirited finale. The one drawback of the Compact Disc is that it exaggerates Serkin's fairly continuous vocal contributions to the proceedings, which some listeners may find increasingly irritating.--l.M.


flac, cover

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