• Alexander's Playlist: Mozart: Piano Concertos 21 & 22

    By Alexander Neef

    General Director Alexander Neef shares his favourite music recordings in this series of weekly recommendations.

    Mozart: Piano Concertos 21 & 22
    Annie Fischer, pianist
    Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor
    Philharmionia Orchestra
    EMI, 1958



    Following last week’s recommendation of Mozart and the Weber Sisters, I wanted to stay for a whole longer with this extraordinary composer and explore his piano concertos. Mozart’s Concerto No. 22 is my absolute favourite of his piano works, and I’ve conducted a fairly extensive review of the available recordings in a – perhaps impossible – quest to find the perfect rendition of 22. Having listened to a lot of them, however, the recording that continues to stand out to me is Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer’s 1958 interpretation in partnership with German conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch, who leads the Philharmonia Orchestra.

    Annie Fischer is what I call an “insider pianist,” an artist who is highly regarded and praised among classical musical insiders but almost unheard of and unheralded among the general public. She is as distinguished by the emotional depth of her performances, as she is by dazzling technical virtuosity. Listening to this recording, I am struck again and again by Fischer’s seemingly effortless ability to illuminate the architecture of Mozart’s music, to take you into the living and breathing essence of this concerto.

    Fischer’s contemporaries regarded her as among the best artists of the 20th century, and we can find testimony of her reputation in the fact that when Fischer took on a recording a complete set of Beethoven sonatas, the recording company agreed to an almost unheard-of set of conditions Fischer requested: she would get as many takes as she wanted in that – perhaps impossible quest – to make the perfect recording.

    ––Alexander Neef



    Music credit: Mozart: Piano Concertos 21 & 22; Annie Fischer, pianist; Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra; EMI, 1958

    Posted in Alexander's Playlist

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