Release Date: 9/20/2005
Director/Author/Cast: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Andre Previn
Features: Color, Dolby Digital 5.1 Re, Soundtrack English, Standard Screen
The series GREAT PIANO CONCERTOS was produced in celebration of the 250th birthday of one of Western music`s most influential and gifted artists, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Each volume focuses on the concertos of a particular period in the genius composer`s career. This second episode compiles performances conducted by some of the premiere Mozart interpreters of the century, including Hedrun Holtmann and Andri Previn. Not only are these performances aurally pleasing, they are also a feast for the eyes, having been shot on the locations where Mozart lived and worked. This second volume includes concertos 1, 3, 23, and 24.
This DVD is part of a continuing series of performances of Mozart's piano concertos featuring varying artists and orchestras in a number of lovely European sites. This one, from early 1990s performances, features two early arrangements by Mozart of pieces by earlier composers - his Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, played by Heidrun Holtmann, with the orchestra of Italian Language Radio and Television of Switzerland, under Marc Andreae. The concerti themselves are fairly negligible but amazing for having been arranged (from works by H. F. Raupach [1728-1778] and Leontzi Honauer [1737-?1790]) when Mozart was only eleven. The performances were filmed in the Teatro Scientifico del Bibiena.
The great A Major Piano Concerto, K. 488, is played by the very young-appearing Hungarian virtuoso Zoltán Kocsis with the Virtuosi di Praga under Jirí Behlohlávek in the Rittersaal of the Palais Waldstein, Prague. Kocsis is a marvelous Mozartean. I recall a terrific CD performance of the Three Piano Concerto, K. 242, with fellow Hungarians András Schiff and Deszo Ránki as well as the Two Piano Concerto (with Ránki), with the Hungarian State Symphony under the esteemed Janos Ferencsik. The first two movements of the A Major Concerto are simply ravishing.
The last stunning performance is by André Previn playing and conducting the 23rd Concerto in C Minor. He is given exquisite support by the Royal Philharmonic (London). That loveliest of all Mozartean slow movements, the only work he ever wrote in F sharp minor, is meltingly beautiful. The performance is filmed at the gorgeous Grosse Galerie of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Previn plays his own quite wonderful and style-congruent cadenzas in movements I and III.
The reason for getting this DVD, I suspect, is for the visual as well as the musical values. All three recording venues are lovely, the sound is fine in all three performances.
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