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Classical - Released October 1, 2006 | Avie Records

Distinctions Diapason d'or
This complete cycle of Mozart piano sonatas, with some very desirable additions, has been winning raves in its native Britain, and it's a pleasure to report that they're fully justified. Class Leon McCawley's interpretations of Mozart under two headings -- under that of recordings that place the Mozart sonatas at the center of his output, instead of to the side where they have long resided, and under the more general heading of modern-instrument recordings influenced by the discoveries of period-instrument performers. Class them also as fully thought-out, technically unimpeachable performances of the first class. McCawley takes pains to make his piano sound nearly as smooth as a fortepiano, and to bring out small details hidden in the performances of pianists who bang away. He is alert to the distinctive textures of each sonata, drawing on the insight that Mozart's keyboard textures developed hand in hand with his ability to exploit the large orchestral textures popularized by the Mannheim court orchestra and other virtuoso ensembles of the day. The bigger early sonatas, like the Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284, sound, as they should, like little keyboard symphonies. McCawley's readings are clean, neither too fragile nor too romantic. He plays Mozart's sonatas as serious works, but he has an admirable sense of when to back off and let the music speak for itself -- especially nice is the K. 533 sonata (with its K. 494 completion) at the beginning of disc 5. The magnificent first movement, in which a seemingly inconsequential theme is unexpectedly shown to be the basis first for invertible counterpoint, then for a fugue, and then for some truly profound Bachian combinations of themes, profits handsomely here from McCawley's decision to stay out of the music's way. The more minimal Sonata in B flat, K. 570, is arrestingly graceful. A nice bonus is the inclusion of the Kleine Gigue, K. 574, a wonderful miniature that was a product of Mozart's growing engagement with counterpoint; disc 5 is also filled out with some other fine but fairly obscure short pieces. The closing Adagio in B minor is a unique performance in which McCawley finds Mozart's despair not in the attenuated opening phrase, but in its consequent phrase, and develops his interpretation from there. If you are new to Mozart sonatas, sample some fortepiano performances as well, perhaps by Malcolm Bilson or Siegbert Rampe. If the modern grand is more your speed, this new set can stand with any of the great recordings of the past. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 17, 2007 | Avie Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The 1793 Sebastian Lengerer fortepiano used by American keyboardist Marcia Hadjimarkos on this disc is described in the booklet as "quieter but much more volatile" than the more common Anton Walter fortepianos of which it is a near contemporary. The "quieter but much more volatile" formulation might also apply to Hadjimarkos' playing itself, as compared with the general run of Mozart fortepiano recordings. She gives Mozart's music a uniquely improvisatory feel, and booklet annotator Brian Robins backs her up by pointing out that Mozart was well known in his own time as a keyboard performer. Hadjimarkos begins with the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457, unusually split off from the Fantasia in C minor, K. 475, with which it is usually paired. But the sonata in her hands takes on much of the brooding, Beethovenian character usually supplied by the prelude. Even more unusually, the Rondo in F major, K. 494, is presented alone, not as a finale to the incomplete Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533. The work's innocent opening theme is pushed into Schubert territory by Hadjimarkos' free treatment of the tempo. And so it goes, with varied results. Hadjimarkos puts the focus on the performer rather than the music, and she exploits the powers of the fortepiano fully in so doing. At times she perhaps pushes the music over the edge; the altered repeats in the Piano Sonata in C major, K. 545, do not sound particularly idiomatic, and the Rondo in A minor, K. 511, loses something of its exquisitely debilitated melancholy. But Hadjimarkos deserves full credit for conceiving and following through with a Mozart keyboard recording that's genuinely new. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 3, 2012 | Coro

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Concertos - Released January 1, 2007 | Claves Records

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released May 30, 2007 | Avie Records

Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
This collection of Mozart's violin and viola music is rather oddly presented: the Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, and two shorter works for violin and orchestra receive conventional program notes, but the central works on the album, the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra, and the two duos for violin and viola on disc two, are described in a fictional work, a short-short story called "Too Much Mozart" by British novelist and music writer Jessica Duchen. The device is rather mystifying, and the same might be said of the general interpretations by violinist and conductor Philippe Graffin. Dedicated to extracting the significance of small details, they tend lose both the limpid charm of the violin concerto and the glorious spaciouness of the Sinfonia Concertante. Without any explanation, the blank tonic-dominant figure with which the orchestra accompanies the entrance of the soloists in the first movement of the Sinfonia Concertante is altered rhythmically; the plain figure is, in its small way, essential in forcing the listener's attention to the larger proportions of the movement. It's the same way throughout the first disc; many passages are treated in innovative ways, but a clarity that's characteristic of Mozart is lost. The issues are not technical ones, and in the concentrated dialogues of the violin-viola duos on disc two, among Mozart's less-often-performed pieces, Graffin and violist Nobuko Imai achieve a tense focus that properly links these works to Mozart's string quartets. Holland's Brabant Philharmonic Orchestra reacts with admirable sensitivity to the unusual readings asked of it; both the program as a whole, with the youthful violin works serving as curtain raisers, is well thought out; Avie's sound is warm and transparent. The only question for listeners will be whether they find themselves drawn into the story being told here. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 24, 2007 | Global Journey

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Classical - Released May 31, 2019 | Alia Vox

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By the middle of 1788, at the age of 32, Mozart had reached the height of his creative maturity, dominated by the last three symphonies, absolute masterpieces that he composed in a very short period of time – barely one and a half months. This extraordinary “symphonic massif” consisting of three peaks – Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major, completed on 26th June, Symphony No 40 in G minor, completed on 25th July and Symphony No. 41 in C major, the “Jupiter”, dated 10th August – is unquestionably the composer’s “Symphonic Testament”.

Classical - Released June 27, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released March 31, 2021 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released August 22, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Concertos - Released October 13, 2014 | Claves Records

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Opera - Released April 21, 2013 | Past Classics

Classical - Released August 22, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Chamber Music - Released October 29, 2013 | Groupe Analekta, Inc.

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Classical - Released August 5, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released November 25, 2016 | Cobra Entertainment LLC

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Classical - Released October 3, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released February 10, 2017 | Challenge Classics

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Classical - Released September 21, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released October 23, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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