# Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
# Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
# Performer: Clara Haskil
# Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay
# Vinyl (1958 / 2009)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 12
# Label: Speakers Corner / Deutsche Grammophon
# Size: 564MB (24/96) + 137MB (16/44.1)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Server: RS, FF
From the Speakers Corner website:
In spite of the varying degrees of popularity of Mozart’s numerous piano concertos, no one would seriously consider ranking them by quality. It would certainly prove an impossible task, for each and every one of these intense yet often playful compositions could be considered the most perfect of its genre. In view of this, one should concentrate on each work’s highly individual character and this can hardly be more contrasting than in the present two pieces. Thanks to the joyous, energetic disposition of No. 19 in F major, K. 259, it appears to be filled with the exuberant spirit of Mozart’s Viennese period – a time when he amazed audiences with his dexterity at the keyboard.
As a contrast, the mood of the late No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, which was performed in a small circle, is introvert and mellow. The old adage that Mozart’s final concerto was a gesture of farewell and filled with a premonition of death is certainly not substantiated by Haskil and Fricsay’s performance. Through the subtle and flowing clarity of her piano part under the tense and elastic opposition of the orchestra, the soloist banishes the question of the end of time into the background and so pays homage to the relaxed and self-assured mastery of the Salzburg composer.
“While Mozart didn’t invent the piano concerto, he was the first to give it serious attention, and he certainly defined the standard for all composers who followed him. Clara Haskil and the Berliner Philharmoniker give a mostly jaunty, upbeat performance of Concerto No. 19, though it’s a tad plodding in places. Her performance of No. 27, the last piano concerto Mozart wrote, is somber, but it manages to find the essence of the composer’s intent.
This reissue gives us a glimpse of the purity of tone and the precise phrasing that were hallmarks of Clara Haskil’s playing, a style lost too soon in 1965, when Haskil sustained critical injuries in a fall from a train. Her friend Charlie Chaplin considered her genius on par with Albert Einstein’s and Winston Churchill’s.
The sound of the piano on this mono LP is lifelike, and the orchestra is clearly set slightly behind. The balance is such that neither overpowers the other. The quiet surfaces go a long way toward intensifying the recording’s inherent clarity and allow the full tone and timbre of each instrument to blossom.
While many good recordings of Mozart’s chamber music exist, I understand why Speakers Corner chose to reissue this one: Superb performances, a unique repertoire and sterling sonics make for a thoroughly enjoyable LP.” – John Crossett, The Audio Beat
Side 1 – Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K. 259
Side 2 – Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
Recording: September 1955 at Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, by Harald Baudis and May 1957 at Herkules Saal, Munich by Werner Wolf
Production: Wolfgang Lohse / Otto Gerdes
View the Discogs entry here
All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5
SimAudio Moon 110LP preamp
Native Instruments Audio4DJ USB interface
Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only)
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