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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concertos 20, K. 466, & 27, K. 595
The Cleveland Orchestra, Mitsuko Uchida (piano & conductor)
Recorded live, Severance Hall, Cleveland (15, 17 & 18 April, 2010) – 65’51
Decca #B0015498-02 – Booklet in English

Mitsuko Uchida has been around for a long time. To offer new interpretations of Mozart piano concertos hardly seems daring. But that is exactly what is given here. When an artist is in such command, nuance is everything. The confident approach to this difficult music makes the work seem easy and seldom does Mozart sound so modern. Decca’s recording with Uchida leading the Cleveland Orchestra is a great primer for newcomers to classical music and a treat for old timers.

The 27th is the less familiar piece and greater challenge. It has less variety in mood, mainly cheerful, fun and exuberant and only a particularly insightful interpreter can keep it this fresh. The joyous interaction between pianist and orchestra is a lesson in virtuosity.

This recording is of particular interest because the 20th is enormously different from the 27th. The orchestra begins with such intensity that one is likely to forget that the piano will soon be joining. But with both selections there is such a genuine sense of communication between the two that this music appears simple. Uchida offers lessons in expressing grief, fear, playfulness and especially humor that are rarely heard today. There is an undeniably understated reverence in her work. This is a recording to own. Mozart would have approved.

Jeff Haller




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