Jonathan Biss / Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 21 & 22

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While one cannot but praise pianist Jonathan Biss' superb performances of Mozart's Piano Concertos No. 21 and No. 22 for their graceful tone and elegant articulation, arguably the best music-making here is done by the accompanying orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Again and again, the poise of the balances, the effortlessness of the ensemble, the characterfulness of the solos, and the sheer joy in the playing steals the listener's attention away from the soloist. This is not to say that Biss is less than splendid. Building on the brilliant success of his earlier Schumann disc, the young soloist turns in well-considered but still spontaneous and wholly sincere readings of the solo parts that will surely enhance his reputation as a pianist to watch. But the conductorless chamber orchestra's performance is so fine, so true, and so filled with light that one can only hope that some classical label signs them to record Mozart's symphonies. EMI's digital sound is clear, warm, and wonderfully detailed.

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