Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat, K271 (Jeunehomme); Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat, K271 (Jeunehomme); Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466
PERFORMER: Mikhail Pletnev (piano); Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45130 2 DDD
These are serious, rather old-fashioned performances with a (good) Steinway and an orchestra of modern instruments. By old-fashioned, I mean primarily in terms of the tempi. In the first warhorse, I found the tempo of the slow movement much too slow: it is only an Andantino and Pletnev takes 12:08 minutes over it (compare Andreas Staier at 11:02 and Linda Nicholson at 10:36). I also found the first movement of the D minor ponderous, and the last movement wooden, but, apart from these criticisms, there is no doubt that Pletnev is an excellent pianist and plays much of this music very beautifully.

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What is really worrying, though, is quite a different matter. It is being said that the British public is not buying classical CDs as they used to (sales topped not only by France and Germany, but also by Hong Kong). This CD is part of the general problem. We simply don’t need it, and there are dozens of as good or much better performances on period and modern instruments (among the latter, for example, is Richter). HC Robbins Landon