Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 20by Rudolf Serkin
Rudolf Serkin's refined, intellectual approach to Mozart is well suited to George Szell's famously unsweetened style, and the two musicians are ideally matched on this Columbia recording from 1961. Serkin's playing is crisp and a little dry, with minimal pedaling. The sound he produces is not too far removed from the light timbre of the pianoforte, though there is no mistaking the piano's wider resources, which Serkin uses sparingly. Szell draws a rich but lucid accompaniment from the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, and rigorously maintains tempi without the slightest hint of sentimentality in his few ritardandi. Of these two concertos -- apparently regarded by Mozart as a pair -- the "Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major" has the sunniest disposition, and Serkin and Szell play it briskly and cheerfully. In contrast, the "Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor" is shadowy and turbulent, with a Romance of heartbreaking simplicity. The performance here is as stormy and melancholy as it should be, but Serkin's and Szell's sense of Classical proportions keeps it from sounding like Beethoven avant la lettre. The virtuosic "Concert Rondo in D major" is included as a bonus track, and it receives a jovial reading from Serkin and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Schneider.
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Performance CreditsRudolf Serkin Primary Artist
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