There was a recent MDG release of these same arrangements (derangements, some have called them) but they did not have the same disarming quality of these new performances by the young Norwegian pianist Margareta Nilssen and her former professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Heide Görtz.
By being willing to forego the immediate pleasures of quick perky tempos, and letting Mozart’s, and Grieg’s, magic work its wonders in a sort of naive strolling kind of way, Nilssen and Görtz return us to that time before recorded music, when inspired concoctions like this were for some people the best way to hear this repertoire.
In an endearingly domestic way, Grieg’s rewriting (and in many places it is substantial) changes Mozart’s core message, adding warmth, a lovely late Romantic glaze and a piquant quality of playfulness that are entirely appropriate, reflecting the retrograde view that Grieg and his contemporaries had of Mozart. It is, in fact, so effective, that you might wind up preferring these particular works this way, especially considering the relaxed, spaced-out nature of the performances which are totally professional without being intimidating. Now, if 2L could be convinced to record the Dena Duo in all of Mozart’s music for two piano four hands, we might have something very special!
Recorded in the Sofienberg church in Oslo, the CD stereo sound is very pleasant, with a hint of comfortable sonic upholstery that the 5.1 surround sound further develops on SACD players. Highly recommended
Excellent program notes by Patrick Dinslage (although the graphic designer has made reading them harder work than it deserves to be) which sums up what Grieg has accomplished: “When both parts are played, they interweave and become something entirely new.”
– Laurence Vittes