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Classical - Released January 18, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music by Kristian Bezuidenhout has gained plenty of notice for its sheer originality and energy, including some from U.S. Grammy nominators at the end of 2015 for this volume. It's one of the best of the Bezuidenhout cycle, using the fortepianist's copy of an 1805 Anton Walter instrument (by the great American-Czech builder Paul McNulty) to magnificent effect in the almost symphonic Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284. In that work, taking all the repeats in the finale and introducing substantial tempo rubato in the repeats, Bezuidenhout gives the work an epic quality. But he does this with all of Mozart's variation sets, including the small one recorded here at the beginning. The Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 310, with its slashing accents and tense atmosphere, takes on a Beethovenian quality. Bezuidenhout in general emphasizes the experimental, proto-Romantic side of Mozart's musical personality and greatly minimizes the graceful Classical (and French) side. Whether you accept this may be a matter of taste, but it works exceptionally well in the two sonatas here, masterpieces of Mozart's middle period in Bezuidenhout's hands. Highly recommended.
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Keyboard Concertos - Released August 26, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released January 8, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Solo Piano - Released January 13, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released November 5, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 24, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or / Arte - Hi-Res Audio
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Concertos - Released August 23, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released January 8, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Kristian Bezuidenhout's cycle of Mozart's complete keyboard music concludes with this double album, which contains some real rarities that are ideally suited to Bezuidenhout's tough, wiry style. As such, it may not be the item to pick if you want to sample the series, but it's often fascinating. Bezuidenhout's basic modus operandi is to give considerable weight even to works conventionally thought of as light, using his powerful fortepiano (a copy of an 1805 Walter instrument by builder Paul McNulty) and its unequal-temperament tuning to bring out dissonances and sinewy lines rarely heard elsewhere. Here he has some really radical experiments to work with, and even if you find Bezuidenhout's readings idiosyncratic at times, you'll likely appreciate the likes of the Modulating Prelude F-C, K. deest (it is indubitably by Mozart), or the Menuetto in D major, K. 355, with its daring harmonies barely matched elsewhere in Mozart's output. Several of the sonata-form movements were abandoned by Mozart for one reason or another and have been completed by Mozart scholar Robert Levin; the joints are hard to hear. Some pieces, such as the Modulating Prelude and the Four Preludes, K. 284a, are examples of Mozart's improvisational abilities, which were rarely captured in notation. In the larger and more usual works, Bezuidenhout applies a heavy touch to the Piano Sonatas K. 279 and 280, and to three large variations sets, which are generally given a touch of French elegance. But in the Nine Variations on a Minuet by Duport, K. 573, Bezuidenhout achieves utterly distinctive results in a work that has almost no harmonic content and is completely about register and space. Bezuidenhout's Mozart is, to be sure, a matter of taste, but this is a fine conclusion to his series.
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Classical - Released August 19, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
South African-British historical keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout has emerged from accompanimental roles into solo concertizing and major-label recording, making quite a splash. The immediate attraction is his tone. Through frequent and varied use of the una corda pedal (the "soft pedal" of the modern piano), he coaxes a large range of dynamics and timbres out of his instrument, a modern copy of a 1795 Viennese Walter fortepiano. It may be easier with Bezuidenhout than with any of his peers to forget that you're listening to a historical instrument. And in this very nicely recorded selection of Mozart sonatas and other pieces, he often matches the instrument to the music in an admirably thorough way. The high point is the big Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533, an incomplete work joined as is usually done with the Rondo in F major, K. 494, to make a three-movement sonata. Bezuidenhout effectively draws out the contrasts in the first movement of this complex work, modulating the tone of his piano as the first movement moves from intellectual arcana (the Alberti bass of the opening suddenly being deployed as the top line of invertible counterpoint) to muscular crowd-pleasing arpeggios. The sparser late Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 570, also receives a convincing, rather brooding performance. Elsewhere, Bezuidenhout is more idiosyncratic. He splits off the Fantasia in C minor, K. 475, from the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457, to which it is usually attached, and both there and in the innocent Variations on "Unser dummer Pöbel meint," K. 455, the interpretations seem a bit overwrought. Still, there's a good deal of pleasure in the sheer lushness of this album, which marks another step in bringing the fortepiano into the musical mainstream.
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Classical - Released March 1, 2011 | Fleur de Son

Booklet
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Classical - Released August 19, 2011 | harmonia mundi

Booklet
South African-born keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout seems to search for a middle ground between those who treat the fortepiano as a kind of modified harpsichord and those who stress the ways its percussive potential can highlight the incipient Romantic qualities in music of the late 18th century. On this collection of Mozart piano works, he makes full use of the potential of his instrument, a copy by American-Czech builder Paul McNulty of an 1802 Viennese instrument by Anton Walter, often deploying the pedals to develop a range of sounds that take on added color from the unequal-temperament tuning. Yet his basic mode of playing is not terribly expressive. The combination works well in the muscular works that bookend the album, with the lower ranges of the McNulty fortepiano bringing out the full Beethovenian power of the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457 (played, unusually, without its introductory Fantasia in C minor, K. 475), and of the rather symphonic Piano Sonata in C major, K. 330. The smaller pieces at the center of the program suffer a bit from the relatively inflexible melodic idiom. To give great pathos to the bleak Rondo in A minor, K. 511, and Adagio in B minor, K. 540, may be to rely too much on knowledge of what was coming next stylistically, but the Adagio is taken at something more than the designated clip, and there's room for more emotion here than Bezuidenhout allows. Some variation is justifiable in repeats, but Bezuidenhout pushes the envelope; the flourish in the exposition repeat of the Adagio in B minor seems at odds with the exhausted, enervated quality of the music. The main attraction here may be the fortepiano itself, with its strong, clear tone; it begins to approach a grand in power, but the colors are different. Harmonia Mundi's studio sound is excellent and fully attuned to Bezuidenhout's rereading of the big sonatas. Notes are in English, French, and German.