Artur Schnabel

Artur Schnabel plays Mozart

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If you know who Mozart is and you know who Artur Schnabel is, this five-disc set of Schnabel performing Mozart will be self-recommending. That is to say, if you know the sublime simplicity and supreme spirituality of Mozart's music and you know the graceful elegance and soulful profundity of Schnabel's playing, this disc will be self-recommending. Why? Because not only does it contain all of Schnabel's EMI recordings of Mozart's concertos -- his wonderfully witty Concerto No. 22 from 1941 with Bruno Walter, his luminously lyrical Concerto No. 27 from 1934 with John Barbirolli, his nearly demonic Concerto No. 20 from 1948 with Walter Süsskind, and four others -- and all his EMI recordings of Mozart's solo piano music -- his darkly driven Sonata in A minor, K. 310; his poignantly melancholy A minor Rondo, K. 511; and two others -- plus his intensely dramatic Piano Quartet in G minor with members of the Fine Arts Quartet from 1934. It also contains live recordings of the great German pianist playing all of the Concerto No. 23 from 1946 and an 11-minute fragment of the Concerto No. 17 from 1942, a live Sonata in F major K. 533/494 from 1937, and a recording of the Sonata in B flat major K. 333 made for -- of all organizations -- the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Broadcasting System from either 1944 or 1945. Although some of the recordings precede the last world war and all the recordings precede the invention of stereo, most of the recordings are, if not cleaner and clearer, certainly much richer and more evocative than many contemporary digital recordings.

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