Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: Which Mozart sonata set?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    1,321
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Which Mozart sonata set?

    A friend has asked for advice on which of two recordings of the Mozart piano sonatas he should go for. The ones he's been considering are those by Maria Joao Pires and Mitsuko Uchida, and he's having a job deciding because he feels Uchida's readings have more stature but nonetheless finds himself warming more to Pires.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Likes Ras, Caroline liked this post
  3. #2
    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    28,631
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Although Pires is excellent, I favor Uchida as I consider her readings more exciting and on the edge.

  4. #3
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,025
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    My first complete set of Mozart piano sonatas was an LP box by Christoph Eschenbach, and that was my only experience of these works until the advent of the CD. I still like his recordings, but others have overtaken my enthusiasm, Pires and Uchida both are very good, and you can't go wrong with either.

    Andras Schiff has been a favorite and most recently Fazil Say has impressed me.

    The only versions I find objectionable are the Glenn Gould recordings. I sense in his playing a hostility towards the music.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Oct-27-2020 at 18:40.

  5. Likes Animal the Drummer, Caroline liked this post
  6. #4
    Senior Member KlavierKing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    128
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Those are all good choices, to which I might add Robert Silverman's--although it's rather pricey since it's on a small, audiophile label called IsoMike.

  7. Likes Animal the Drummer, Caroline liked this post
  8. #5
    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    3,423
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    If I had to pick between Pires and Uchida I would pick Uchida. Pries plays most of them wonderfully but she makes a few interpretive choices that are just baffling to me and I can't listen to them.

    I spent several years studying the Mozart Piano Sonatas more than any other works. Ingrid Haebler's cycle on Denon is still the tops for me. Alicia De Larrocha and Andras Schiff would be my next picks, followed by Mitsuko Uchida and Christoph Eschenbach.

  9. #6
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    738
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Uchida or HIP - Van Oort on Brilliant is good FP recording

  10. #7
    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Baarle-Nassau.
    Posts
    35,607
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    A friend has asked for advice on which of two recordings of the Mozart piano sonatas he should go for. The ones he's been considering are those by Maria Joao Pires and Mitsuko Uchida, and he's having a job deciding because he feels Uchida's readings have more stature but nonetheless finds himself warming more to Pires.

    Any thoughts?
    The first Pires on Denon/ now Warner is outstanding, just like Brendel and Uchida.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

    "Liberté, égalité, fraternité"

  11. Likes ldiat, Caroline liked this post
  12. #8
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    La Scala
    Posts
    3,901
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default



    I really love the recently completed Bezuidenhout set on fortepiano, sounds so good even non HIP fans will be won over, stretches out to 9CD because like Brautigam he includes many lesser known works for solo keyboard also with standard sonatas, almost certainly there will soon be a reduced price complete boxset till then very pricey to buy all CDs individually

  13. Likes Ras, Caroline liked this post
  14. #9
    Senior Member Ras's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    913
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    A friend has asked for advice on which of two recordings of the Mozart piano sonatas he should go for. The ones he's been considering are those by Maria Joao Pires and Mitsuko Uchida, and he's having a job deciding because he feels Uchida's readings have more stature but nonetheless finds himself warming more to Pires.

    Any thoughts?
    Pires made two recordings - one for Denon re-released by Brilliant Classics and later she recorded the cycle again for DG.
    Pires' Denon/Brilliant recording is my favorite. I don't like Uchida much in Mozart.
    "I only have a hunch in what I've become expert." - Leonard Cohen

  15. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I own and enjoy the Uchida set and haven't heard Pires. But I've also been listening a bit lately on Qobuz streaming to Christian Blackshaw's series of recordings of the sonatas for the Wigmore Hall Live label and perhaps like them even better than Uchida. As far as I know, these aren't available as a single set and the individual CD's are selling at fairly high prices, but if you stream, these are worth checking out.

  16. #11
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    20,159
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I don't take easily to the Mozart sonatas and have accumulated several sets in my search for one to like. Finally, I'm now very happy with the Fazil Say set.


  17. Likes wkasimer liked this post
  18. #12
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    the Deep South
    Posts
    6,708
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I love Christoph Eschenbach on DG (sharper, more clear and more "classical") and Mitsuko Uchida on Decca (softer, more poetic, more "romantic"). I like what I've heard from Bart van Oort.

  19. Likes Caroline liked this post
  20. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    1,297
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I agree with Ras: I likewise prefer Maria João Pires' Denon (& Brilliant) set over Uchida's set by a significant margin. Uchida's Mozart is over punctuated & too forward driven for my tastes. She lacks a certain lyricism and beauty in her phrasing, and seldom allows the music to breath. However, I'm not as keen on Pires' later DG set & wouldn't give that a super strong recommendation, either (though her DG set is certainly good). The younger Pires on Denon is a different story. (In regards to Pires' DG years, IMO, she was at her best in Schubert, Bach, and Chopin Nocturnes.)

    Note that there used to be complaints about the sound quality on some of the initial individual Denon CDs for the Pires cycle, however, they were remastered for the last Japanese Denon box set in 2008, and here the sound problems vanished, to my ears: https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/ピリス-マリ...203192&sr=8-11. These recordings were also released by Brilliant, but I've not heard that set myself, so I can't comment on its sound quality.

    --Maria João Pires on Denon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUkw...eAUVGxcnr03dDd

    I also favor and prefer Alicia de Larrocha's Mozart sonatas on both Decca and later on RCA, as well as Ingrid Haebler's Denon cycle (which I favor slightly over Haebler's earlier Philips set) to Uchida, & again by a significant margin. One attribute of de Larrocha's Mozart that separates her from the pack is that she has a stronger understanding of how to add ornament, stylistically (& more seamlessly) in Mozart than most other pianists, which is no small matter. Generally, I prefer de Larrocha's Decca Mozart recordings to her later RCA ones, and a good portion of these Decca recordings have been reissued by the Australian Eloquence label in the following 3 CD set, which is a treasure in my collection and goes with me to my desert island: for me, this is first class Mozart playing, by any standard:


    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Sonata...sr=1-1-catcorr.

    However, Vol. 5 of de Larrocha's RCA cycle also goes with me to my desert island (as de Larrocha was still in her prime, contrary to what is sometimes said about her last recordings for RCA--though not quite as youthful). Indeed, Vol. 5 is one of my favorite solo piano discs from the digital era:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE2AXmfNUKs
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Piano-...s=music&sr=1-1

    As for Ingrid Haebler's Denon cycle, she too understands how to sound spontaneous in Mozart, as if she were creating the music on the spot, but maybe a bit less so than de Larrocha (& Alfred Brendel and Malcolm Bilson, who are also quite adept in this regard, as is Robert Levin). This is something that Uchida's Mozart is lacking in. In contrast, she sounds more calculated and less lyrical and singing in her phrasing. At times her Mozart can even sound oddly modern in comparison.

    Note that in the past Haebler's Mozart has been criticized for occasionally falling into the "Dresden China" camp--by producing a Mozart that is more akin to those overly sweetened, dainty Dresden porcelain figurines. I admit there may be a grain of truth to this criticism in her K. 332, for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAGrJv2VMuM. But I don't generally hear that kind of delicacy or daintiness in her Denon recordings. Nor, for that matter, do I hear it much in her earlier Philips set, either. However, I mention it because some people have had that reaction to her Mozart. What is true is that neither Haebler or de Larrocha resort to agogic or exaggerated dynamics in Mozart, but always maintain a certain degree of classical restraint and balance. So, if you want a more late romantic, less classical interpretation and approach to the 18th century Mozart, these recordings probably won't be for you:

    --Ingrid Haebler on Denon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cykp...ObWv-GcnaqZ3aH
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=B0000C9VO...ref=nb_sb_noss
    https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/ヘブラー-イ...3P1A7KKC14K1M2

    Christian Zacharias's early set on EMI is also very worthwhile, and again, I find him preferable to Uchida by a significant margin. He and de Larrocha on either Eloquence or RCA would be my top two budget picks:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b39R...ARrzV12vMWJgOE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoZw...Q01Qw3hSHbtSVc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fN...a84Qk2NEk3u8uk
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Comple...4C04957ZT868JV.

    For my top historical picks, I'd choose Mieczyslaw Horszowski's Arbiter set (in two volumes), as well as the individual sonata recordings by Clara Haskil (though Haskil didn't record all of them). While my first pick among Mozart sets played on a fortepiano would be Malcolm Bilson (although I also like the Mozart cycle by Bilson's student, Kristian Bezuidenhout). But, unfortunately, people may have trouble finding Bilson's Hungaroton set these days, as it's OOP, I believe. I also treasure a wonderful 2 CD set of Mozart's works from his later Vienna years, 1782-1789, by fortepianist Jos van Immerseel: https://www.amazon.com/Vienna-Years-...s=music&sr=1-1. If you're looking for interpretations that are more challenging and individualistic on a fortepiano, Alexei Lubimov's set on Erato makes a good choice (though I don't prefer him to either Bilson or Immerseel myself).

    --Mieczyslaw Horszowski: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7j-3ZWL78Y
    Unfortunately, Horszowski's Mozart on Arbiter is likewise out of print & has become pricey:
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Comple...s=music&sr=1-3
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Comple...s=music&sr=1-1

    --Clara Haskil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QynFwdNrDm4
    This discount box set is a treasure in my collection and a great buy for $22.99 new (the present asking price): https://www.amazon.com/Haskil-Spielt...s=music&sr=1-1

    --Malcolm Bilson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew6R...kFmTXt5jaKwoo3

    As for individual discs, I wouldn't want to be without Dubravka Tomsic's wonderful single volume from her unfinished Mozart cycle, which was left incomplete because the KOCH International label went out of business, sadly. This is another desert island Mozart disc of mine. Like de Larrocha and Pires, Tomsic has the perfect light, quick & nimble hands for Mozart (& Scarlatti & Bach):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S24j-VrtOK8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu6ioe7Zewg
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Piano-...s=music&sr=1-1

    Murray Perahia & Wilhelm Kempff are also excellent in this music, as well.

    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Sonata...s=music&sr=1-5
    https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Piano-...4258843&sr=1-3

    Another top set, which is more controversial perhaps, but one that I have a great admiration for, is the cycle from the late American pianist, Elizabeth Rich, which was released on the now defunct Connoisseur Society label. There are times when I think Rich's more rhythmically flexible interpretations--which are arguably more attuned to the psychological and emotional content beneath the surface of this music rather than tied to any strict rhythmic adherence to it--are closer to how Mozart may have played these sonatas himself. She is at the other end of the spectrum from de Larrocha and Horszowski, but her alternative view makes this an essential set for lovers of these sonatas, IMO. Unfortunately, as noted, the Connoisseur Society label is no more, so you might have trouble finding the individual volumes for this series, as it was never released in a box set. However, there is now a You Tube website for Rich, finally!, and you can hear her Mozart playing there:

    Elizabeth Rich on the Connoisseur Society label, Vol. 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IukO...dwbHJltlPYc5pc

    Lastly, there's Alfred Brendel's newly remastered Philips recordings on the Universal Eloquence label, which I'd also prefer to Uchida, except that Brendel didn't record all of the sonatas, so this isn't a complete set (& unfortunately, it used to be a bargain issue on Amazon but is no longer such, so you might look elsewhere, if interested):

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FN8XDRW...s=music&sr=1-1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFh7W6nLco8

    If you take the time to sample from and listen to a range of the Mozart recordings above, I'd be surprised if you ultimately chose Uchida. I don't think she understands this music as deeply as the others. & I'd consider her Mozart sonatas to be overrated in comparison. For me, she's better in Schubert...
    Last edited by Josquin13; Nov-01-2020 at 22:32.

  21. Likes Ras, Animal the Drummer, Caroline and 1 others liked this post
  22. #14
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Another artist worth mentioning is Walter Klien, as noted here
    Walter Klien
    (Three cheers for Vox Boxes!)

  23. #15
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sharon, Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,965
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    While my first pick among Mozart sets played on a fortepiano would be Malcolm Bilson (although I also like the Mozart cycle by Bilson's student, Kristian Bezuidenhout). But, unfortunately, people may have trouble finding Bilson's Hungaroton set these days, as it's OOP, I believe. I also treasure a wonderful 2 CD set of Mozart's works from his later Vienna years, 1782-1789, by fortepianist Jos van Immerseel: https://www.amazon.com/Vienna-Years-...s=music&sr=1-1. If you're looking for interpretations that are more challenging and individualistic on a fortepiano, Alexei Lubimov's set on Erato makes a good choice (though I don't prefer him to either Bilson or Immerseel myself).
    Great recommendations, and thanks for pointing out the van Immerseel set, which I didn't know about.

    But my favorite HIP set, by quite a margin, is by Tuija Hakkila on Finlandia. It was released as an integral set, and also as individual discs. Presumably all OOP, but if you can find them, snap them up - she plays as though her hair is on fire:

    hakkila mozart.jpg
    Last edited by wkasimer; Nov-02-2020 at 17:25.

  24. Likes Caroline, Josquin13 liked this post
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •