Most of the Mozart piano concertos plus a lot of other piano music by him, plus a Haydn piano concerto.

MOZART: Piano Concertos – The Complete Studio Recordings, 1933-1947; Sel. Piano Sonatas, Rondos, and Fantasias; HAYDN: Piano Concerto in D Major – Edwin Fischer, p. and cond./ London Philharmonic Orch./ Edwin Fischer Ch. Orch./ Lawrance Collingwood (K. 491)/ John Barbirolli (K. 482)/ Philharmonia Orch./ Josef Krips (K. 503)/ Vienna Philharmonic Orch. (Haydn) – APR 7303 (3 CDs) 71:16, 75:09, 75:07 (6/9/15) [Distr. by PIAS] *****:

The inestimable contribution to Mozart interpretation in the Twentieth Century can be well attributed to the likes of Artur Schnabel, Walter Gieseking, Wanda Landowska, and Edwin Fischer (1886-1960), the Basel-born pianist who performed, edited, and conducted Mozart repertory at a time when the composer often bore the onus of a “rococo” phenomenon.  These inscriptions, originally captured by EMI, had been transferred by APR (and Byan Crimp) prior, in volumes labeled APR 5523-25 (1998). Fischer combines a direct, virile athleticism with a remarkable capacity for dynamic restraint and nuance, along with a spontaneity that Mozart would well admire.

Added fioritura, variations on repeats, tiny cadenzas, trills, passing grace notes, and immaculate clarity of line merely suggest the cornucopia of effects Fischer lavished on Mozart while retaining a nobility of expression at all times. The absolute gift to this set comes in the form of the Vienna Philharmonic performance of the Haydn D Major Concerto, from 1942,  a work not only rare in Fischer’s legacy but blazingly and diaphanously rendered.  The liner notes by Roger Smithson estimably recount the details of the music and context of the recordings, to a degree that further editorials become superfluous.  This set proves essential for the Mozart lover generally and for those who relish refined, enlightened musicianship on every level. I can only hope that Fischer’s recordings of individual symphonies by Haydn and Mozart will resurface in the CD format.


Disc 1: Piano Concertos 20 & 22
Disc 2: Piano Concertos 17 & 24
Disc 3: Piano Concertos 25 & 10

—Gary Lemco