More of the Music of Wofgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
- This STUNNING classical masterpiece finally returns to the site with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on the first side and nearly Super Hot Stamper sound on the second
- Spacious, three-dimensional and real beyond practically any DG recording you’ve heard – you hear into the soundstage on this record like you will not believe
- If you want to do your own sonic comparison of two of the very best concertos from this era, this is the perfect copy to do it with
- “Mozart’s piano concertos are filled with assured transition passages, modulations, dissonances, Neapolitan relationships and suspensions. Today, at least three of these works (nos 20, 21 and 23) are among the most recorded and popular classical works in the repertoire…”
The string tone here is especially rich and sweet, yet full of texture and that lovely rosiny quality that vintage pressings capture so well. (Sometimes capture so well. We’ve played plenty of copies with a smeary quality that robs the strings of their lovely sheen.)
The piano is beautifully recorded as well. Geza Anda’s performance is hard to fault here. You will have a very hard time finding better recordings of these Mozart piano concertos, of that we have no doubt.
This vintage Deutsche Grammophon pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of This Wonderful Classical Masterpiece Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1962
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation. Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded so open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one or two clean original copies with which to do a shootout?
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
What We’re Listening For on Mozart’s Piano Concertos
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
A Must Own Record
These wonderful concertos — two of the greatest ever composed — should be part of any serious Classical Collection.
Others recordings that belong in that category can be found here.
Piano Concerto No. 17
Piano Concerto No. 21
1. Allegro Maestoso
3. Allegro Vivace Assai
The C Major Concerto gives absolutely no sign of being composed in an atmosphere of “rush and bustle”; neither could the contrast with the stormy drama of its immediate predecessor be greater. The first movement, an expansive Allegro of Olympian grandeur and design is followed by an Andante of sublime beauty made famous in more recent times by its use in the film Elvira Madigan.
This movement, with its few notes and bare outline, is incidentally a classic example of the manner in which Mozart frequently left himself room to improvise within the context of his own concertos, a technique lately reintroduced by performers such as Malcolm Bilson and Robert Levin. The final movement is an Allegro vivace assai, its evocation of the world of opera buffo typical of many of Mozart’s finales, both in concerto and symphony. Like the D Minor Concerto, K. 467 is scored for a large orchestra: flute, pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns and trumpets, timpani and strings.