MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491; SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 – Evgeny Kissin, piano/London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis – EMI Classics

by | Oct 29, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491; SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 – Evgeny Kissin, piano/London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis – EMI Classics 3 82879 2,  62:19 ****:

Recorded late September 2006 at Barbican Hall, London, these two concertos featuring Evgeny Kissin may be taken as marks of his musical maturity, for well I recall how I embraced in the same spirit Artur Rubinstein’s inscription with Josef Krips of Mozart’s dark C Minor Concerto over a generation ago.  Conductor Davis has the Mozart in hand, having prior traversed its exquisite, melancholy pages with Alicia de Larrocha. Kissin supplies his own cadenzas for the Mozart, the first carefully outlining the ritornello theme while adding runs and fioritura that coalesce effortlessly into the coda. Stately work from the London Symphony flute and bassoon soloists throughout. The Larghetto combines a rondo structure with moody, idyllic introspection, where once more, the piano finds companionship with an articulate bassoon. The childlike, intimate faith of the movement warrants quotes from William Wordsworth or Thomas Gray. The Allegretto retains a somber urgency all its own, and Kissin’s little cadenza emerges after several intricate excursions into harmonic labyrinths as the variants proceed among sylvan shadows. Deftly seamless, the performance captures the tragic impulse in Mozart without mannerism; in fact, the happy realization of principles may become the preferred, contemporary version for many a Mozartean.

The poetic principle ranges freely in Kissin’s collaboration of the familiar Schumann Concerto, where each successive, dreamlike theme repeats as the first movement wends its ineluctable course – limpid, graceful, and supple. When the march motifs erupt, they too enjoy a gentle, albeit muscular ethos, while the genuinely lyrical themes might invoke the coils of incense. Collectors might re-hear their old Gieseking or Lipatti/Karajan collaboration as precedents for the aural delicacies delivered in this charmed version. A vigorous cadenza, girth and trilled power, moves us to another snappy march-fantasy, and the Allegro affetuoso concludes with a resounding thump. The Intermezzo allows Kissin to dwell among the cellos in wistful harmony.  The Allegro vivace reveals the heroic side of Schumann, the virtuosic impulse wherein Kissin’s facility sails with the West Wind.  A palpable joie de vivre infiltrates the performance, hearty and thoroughly idiomatic of the Schumann style – buoyant, light, and eminently singing in character.

— Gary Lemco
 

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