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  2L -
  Mozart, Grieg - Dena Piano Duo
  Mozart (arr. Grieg): Sonata in C major K.545, Sonata in F major K.533/494, Sonata in G major K.283, Sonata in C minor K.475/457

Dena Piano Duo:
Tina Margareta Nilssen
Heide Görtz
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 2

Reviews: 3

Site review by ramesh December 10, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is another SACD produced by the Norwegian company 2L which features outstanding piano sound. Of the discs I have heard from this source, this seems a particular feature of its music producers and balance engineers. A harmonically rich, even tone from all registers of the keyboard is almost becoming a hallmark of the label, similar to the production qualities of piano music from the Philips label in the Seventies and early digital era which made it stand out from its peers.

This music of Mozart 'adapted' by Grieg requires some explanation. In 1877 ( when he was 34 ), Grieg wrote to his publisher, "This winter I have been working on something which has interested me; I have composed a second separate part to several of Mozart's sonatas. This work was first intended in teaching, but came to be played in concert..." Unlike, say, Busoni's recompositions of Bach, Grieg has retained Mozart's original sonata on one piano. He has composed an additional second piano part. This is not an independent stand-alone composition but a harmonic and rhythmic integument which interweaves around the original score. The bare Alberti bass is glamourised, disappearing at times in a welter of notes or cadenza-like flourishes. It doesn't sound much like Grieg's Lyric pieces from this period. If asked to guess the arrangers, it wouldn't be surprising that many might hazard Tchaikovsky or Dvorak over Grieg.

There is already another SACD of these arrangements, which I have not heard. My comparisons have solely been to the well-received Teldec CD performed by Sviatoslav Richter and Elisabeth Leonskaja which was released in 1995. This earlier CD contains performances which in comparison to the 2L SACD often veer towards high romantic seriousness, even dourness. The Russian duo take almost every repeat possible, making their andante to K 533/ 494 bloat into nearly 15 minutes compared to the Norwegian duo's 7:23.

The 2L female duo choose tempi which are in the main more flowing than the Russians. A side-by-side comparison reveals significantly more charm in their performances on this SACD. The musically most effective performance in the Teldec CD is the great C minor fantasy, which suits the sombre approach. Ironically, the lightness without facileness which the Norwegian team so adeptly capture make their performances more Mozartean in tone, in the way we currently value this term. The Russians are more in tune with the allegedly 'daemonic' Mozart prevalent in the musical aesthetics of the early 20th century. Whether Grieg in 1877 anticipated the way the execution of Mozartean style would change close to the end of his life is unquantifiable.

As the liner notes of the SACD state, the effective delivery of this bi-period hybrid requires in the concert hall the intimate proximity of both pianos. Of course, this is to ensure the effective embroidery of Grieg's additions to the Mozartean core. The Teldec CD has a wider stereo separation. Interestingly, the superior imaging properties of the SACD medium are evident, for although the two pianos are correctly placed closer together, careful listening can easily distinguish the textures from each separate keyboard.

The Teldec CD from 1995, which sonically was well regarded a decade ago, is quite upstaged by the 24 bit 88.2 kHz PCM recording even in SACD stereo. The CD has the brittle, clangy midrange piano tone, shorn of harmonic richness, compared to the splendour of the 2L sound. The success of this SACD is in no small measure due to the beauty of the piano tone, so it is best to finish this review on this harmonically full note.

Site review by Polly Nomial June 2, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Site review by akiralx May 29, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
A delightfully enjoyable SACD - these are not piano duet arrangements, but instead a completely original second part by Grieg, to be played alongside the original score. It's great fun.

The harmonies become fuller and richer, and there's more than a hint of modernity in some of the chromaticism Grieg brings out. There are also little ornaments that the second player adds while the other plays the normal stuff. It's hardly 'correct', or even musicologically valid, but who cares!

Sonically too, this is fine, with 2L's typically bright, clean piano sound, in an ideal ambience.

Recommended for something different.

Works: 4  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 15 in F major, K. 533/494
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283/189h