Mozart¥Schumann

COMPOSERS: Mozart,Schumann
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart,Schumann
WORKS: MozartPiano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491SchumannPiano Concerto
PERFORMER: Evgeny Kissin (piano); London SO/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 382 8792
Evgeny Kissin provides a very individual yet compelling view of Mozart’s C minor Concerto. It may not appeal to those who prefer a more Classically orientated view of the music, as is offered by such pianists as András Schiff, but convinces through the consummate musicianship of the playing. Kissin is not afraid to use the full dynamic range and tonal colouring of the modern piano, yet manages to make any slight fluctuation in tempo sound entirely natural and unmannered. A good example of his approach comes in the variation Finale where moments of tenderness and defiance are beautifully contrasted.

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No doubt Kissin is fortunate in having such a distinguished Mozartian as Sir Colin Davis as his partner. Davis takes an expansive view of the opening tutti in the first movement, but thanks to superbly phrased woodwind playing and a transparent string articulation from the LSO, the overall sound-picture is bereft of heaviness. Initially I wondered whether soloist and conductor were going to be at odds with each other since Kissin’s first entry is slightly under the tempo set by Davis. Yet this seems to have been a deliberate strategy, the introverted quality of the piano countered by

the powerful forte delivered by the orchestra in unison.

Kissin recorded the Schumann Concerto with Giulini and the Vienna Philharmonic on Sony in the early 1990s, but this performance seems far more musically involving, Davis and the LSO responding

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with incisiveness to the many passages where piano and orchestra share the musical dialogue. It’s a pity, though, that EMI’s engineers haven’t tamed the Barbican acoustic sufficiently to give the piano a warmer tone. For a more lyrical approach Leif Ove Andsnes and the Berlin Philharmonic under Mariss Jansons on EMI offers probably the best alternative among recent versions of this work, though I would not want to be without this performance by Kissin.Eric Levi