Sunday, 25 October 2015

Mozart - Piano Quartets - Leopold Trio, Lewis

Rating: 5/5

Simply fantastic

This is a fantastic disc, I think. It is chamber music playing at its finest in two masterpieces of the repertoire, and was chosen by Hyperion as one of its "Thirty Seminal Recordings" to mark the label's 30th birthday. It fully deserves the accolade.

Mozart's two piano quartets are fabulous works. They are intricate and complex in places and also have a delightful joy and beauty about them. I think they are among Mozart's finest works, and this is the recording which finally opened them up fully for me.

Paul Lewis and the Leopold String Trio are now players of true international standing and even in 2003 when this was recorded they had established themselves in the front rank of chamber playing. They all have that effortless virtuosity which allows the music to shine rather than focusing attention on the skill of the player and there is a fine understanding between them. The whole thing has a wonderful balance and poise, and also a lovely grace and elegance about it so that you are drawn into Mozart's magnificent music and carried along with it. I absolutely love it: it is four superb musicians putting themselves wholly at the service of the music and relishing both it and the experience of playing together.

I don't mean to gush, but I truly think that this is an exceptional recording. Hyperion's recorded sound is up to their normal excellent standard (Kate Gould's cello sounds wonderful!) and the notes are interesting and well-written. Don't hesitate - this is a fantastic disc and very warmly recommended.

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