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Reviews: Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 13 & 24 - Helmchen, Nikolic

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Reviews: 6

Site review by Polly Nomial November 10, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Site review by Castor April 5, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by Windsurfer October 12, 2007 (15 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This one is rather special! Superb sound; and the very nuanced but masculine playing from Helmchen and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is wonderful! Not a period performance, but like Julia Fischer's Mozart Concertos, this is a period informed performance of the highest caliber.

I was unfamiliar with the concerto #13 and found it to be a joyful experience. The great C minor concerto is authoritatively played and while this disc doesn't completely erase my desire for a Bruno Walter type accompaniment for this concerto, it is a disc I will listen to repeatedly because it is quite compelling!

I actually listened to this first in stereo last night on my upstairs system over the Celestion SL6si loudspeakers. I was quite impressed. But this morning in multi-channel on the big system downstairs, I was amazed at the detail, the spaciousness, the clarity and purity of the piano sound, and the playing of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, to say nothing of the interpretive sophistication and utterly clean articulation of Martin Helmchen!

This is a winner, a real winner!

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Review by Domimag October 27, 2007 (10 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Listened on multi-channel (5.0) :

Again PentaTone give us a marvellous recorded SACD. I agree with "windsurfer" for the very beautiful piano and orchestra sound. This is clear with a very good stereo "picture". The level between piano and orchestra is, for my taste, perfect. I just find the strings "tutti" a little "sharp" sometimes but... that is a "chamber orchestra" and the sound don't bother my taste.

Helmchen is a very good pianist, no doubt ! It is his first but I hope not the last SACD he records for PentaTone. I would like very much if he records all the great Mozart piano concertos !
The C minor 24th concerto is well done with good tempo. This 24th was often played by Beethoven. I have Perahia and Serkin-Abbado versions (CD). I'm sure I'll now listen very often Helmchen-Nikolic.
For the 13th I never heard it played by anybody. So I have no reference about it but it is, for me, quite compelling and a nice discover.

Bravo Helmchen, Nikolic and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra !
Lille (France) - 10/27/2007

edit : sound too much "dry" and "hard" on strings when listening stereo (SACD and CD)

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Review by JJ November 20, 2007 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Composed for two violins, cello and bass, two oboes, two bassoons, two French horns, C trumpet, as well as C and G kettledrums, Mozartís Piano Concerto N° 13 in C major K. 415 is part of what Michel Parouty calls "the three concertos offered by subscription that the composer himself played with great success during his ĎAcademyí of March 22, 1783. It is more audacious than its two companions. Not only is the instrumentation richer (the winds therein are of greater importance, even if no soloist theme is given to them), but the writing, which counts largely on counterpoint, bears the trace of the recent revelation of the old masters Bach and Hændel ." Insofar as Concerto N° 24 in C minor K. 491, itís instrumentation is also undeniably rich. For his first Pentatone recording, the young pianist Martin Helmchen delights us with a small miracle of interpretation that the public no longer expects in an often recorded work. Accompanied by a committed orchestra and conductor, Helmchen offers the freshness of a lively, colorful and impassioned approach. The fluidity of his playing obeys a musical discourse that is both profound and calm. Our attention never wanes, and his pleasure winds up confounding our own. In an ideal stereo and multi-channel recording, this SACD, accompanied by a DVD presenting the pianist, is a welcome surprise.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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Review by abronfer February 24, 2010 (1 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The record is real disappointment at least for me. The recording is compressed dynamically. Also there are some mismatch in sound between orchestra and Martin Helmchen. I can not judge multi-channel mixing but two channel is definitely not the best specially after PentaTone's Julia Fischer outstanding recordings.

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