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Reviews: Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 11 & 12 - Janina Fialkowska

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Reviews: 3

Site review by Polly Nomial November 9, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by Edvin October 14, 2007 (13 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
My initial reaction was a big question mark. Why play these pieces in their arrangements for piano and string quintet. A rather pointless excercise, I thought.

I couldn´t be more wrong! This is surely the disc that I have had most pleasure from during the last six months, it is a delight from beginning to end. No wind instruments, chamber music instead. So of course the piano is a bit larger than before, but Fialkowska´s playing is so sensitive and intimate.

The whole enterprise is like a breath of fresh air. Two concertos with a youthful stamp played by musicians who obviously know and love the music intimatly. I didn´t miss the wind instruments at all - on the contrary I think these works benefit from the chamber music treatment. But then I do love Mozart´s chamber music dearly.

Janina Fialkowska is a virtuoso player and her story is one of curage and endurance, read the notes. The rapport between her and the string players is a match made in heaven.

Add to this the reproduced sound by Atma. This is one of the best recordings I have ever heard. The sound coming from the string quintet is so lifelike it´s almost scary. And when the piano arrives I was even more aware of being in a small concert hall. This is Hi-Fidelity in big letters. Absolutely one of my records of the year, a pure delight!

Take note BIS, PentaTone and other companies. Take a good look at this SACD. When did you last see a CD as beautiful as this?! The cover design is so lovely and it suits the music perfectly. No Aquarium fish, no conductors looking mad. This is style and quality through and through.

Thomas Roth

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Review by JJ February 14, 2008 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
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This recording out of Canada invites us to a musical gathering the likes of which we would like to hear more often. The Concertos for Piano N°11 K. 413 and N°12 K. 414, here proposed in the chamber versions the Austrian composer himself penned, are absolute masterpieces. As Mozart wrote: “These concertos present a welcome balance between what is too easy and too difficult; they are quite brilliant, pleasant to the ear and natural without being boring. There are passages here and there in which only those in the know will find any real satisfaction. But, the same passages have been written so that those less knowledgeable cannot help but be seduced, without knowing why.” Composed in late 1982 early 1783, these works were a source pride for Mozart, who, generally speaking, wanted to make his compositions popular in order to sell them. This splendid disc, in a recording that is remarkable for its natural and warmth, concludes with the Quartet N°4 K. 157. This latter is the work of a young man of seventeen and was conceived, as Julian Armour states: “to indulge the Italian taste of the time.” Accompanied by the Chamber Players of Canada, the pianist Janina Fialkowska wins us over by her delicate touch and phrasing that is both poetic and luminous. Her playing is a palette of light rather than color, and perfectly illustrates what musicologist Theodore Baker said, which is that Mozart in fact is the “supreme musical genius whose works have remained unequalled as much because of their beauty, their lyricism and their rhythmic diversity as because of their melodic invention.” A got-to-have.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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