Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 7. 27 May, 1970
Record Reviews [Mozart's Piano Concertos no. 17 and King's College Choir]
Anyone who has seen the movie Elvira Madigan will be haunted by the theme music chosen by director Bo Widerberg, the andante from Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto in C Major K.467. Unfortunately the commercial aspect of the theme has been taken up by such lacklustre dignitaries as James Last and Peter Nero who have issued bastardized versions. When I saw the movie preview I expected to have to put up with this sort of musical crap-out and was delighted to discover that Widerberg used a recording with Geza Anda as soloist and conducting the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum. Deutsche Grammophon have released this recording of the complete Concerto coupled with the 17th in G Major K.453 (138783).
The two concertos receive the most exquisite Mozart playing I have heard. Anda's approach is very lyrical and warm, the serenity of the Mozartian nuances is never disturbed as the phrases "flow like oil" (Mozart's expression). His playing is very delicate, there is no sense of urgency and yet the tempo never drags. Both Artur Rubinstein and Daniel Barenboim have recorded good versions of this and yet neither can match Anda's. As is to be expected, Rubinstein's approach is in the same warm manner but unfortunately RCA's recording is marred by an imbalance in the string and wind sections and some rather murky tone in the horns. Barenboim's interpretation is in a more 'grand' manner. The first movement bounces along at a very brisk rate and technically everything is perfect but after listening to Anda the whole concerto sounds a little hurried. By the time Barenboim and the English Chamber Orchestra reach the allegretto the music is really galloping along.
Anda's more refined approach is especially apparent in the C Major Concerto. The dignified first movement develops beautifully and features excellent rapport between soloist and orchestra. Anda's clarity of tone is highlighted in the poignant andante where the simple lilting rhythm is passed between piano and strings. Comparison with Barenboim is inevitable and once again I find that his occasional mannerisms show up rather badly, especially in the final Allegro vivace assai. Anda's phrases trickle out effortlessly whereas Barenboim is inclined to toss them about and reshape them in a much more tortured manner.
Perhaps my delight in this record is only a matter of taste but I certainly consider Anda's musicianship as being close to the ideal Mozart playing. Furthermore the recording is excellent with a very good balance between orchestra and soloist.
King's College Choir, Cambridge, conducted by David Wilcocks. The Psalms of David. (EMI CSDM 3656).
The Anglican chant form offers little scope for variation and one would consider that a whole record devoted to this style of choral singing could be rather monotonous. However the choice of material and high standard of performance on The Psalms of David (HMV CSDM 3656) allows no place for boredom. David Willcocks has chosen a selection of chants which offer considerable variation in the form, from the soft, lilting Psalm 122 I Was Glad by Woodward and Psalm 121 I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes by Walford Davies (sung unaccompanied and featuring a beautiful soprano solo) to the more stirring, majestic Psalm 147, Stanford's O Praise the Lord
The performances by the choir of Kings College, Cambridge, are outstanding with good clear enunciation, especially in the sopranos. The sleeve note does not indicate where this excellent recording was made but presumably it was in the Cambridge chapel. On a few occasions the higher register of the organ is lost but this is of little importance. A very good disc that warrants closer attention than it will receive from record buyers.