Once in a while, we encounter recordings that—for lack of proper advocacy—are doomed to exist in the musical backwater. Their artistic merit is unquestionably beyond reproach and their sound quality is far in excess of the norm. This is one such recording. - Michael Carter
Now many of the world’s most serious and significant pianists (Schnabel, Serkin, Brendel, Goode, etc.) have devoted a great deal of thoughtful study to the Beethoven sonatas; in general, performance of this music represents a level of erudition and deep contemplation probably unequaled by the works of any other mainstream composer. Serious pianists study every aspect of these works in minute detail; virtually everything is taken into account except those instruments which inspired Beethoven, and which he had in mind when he composed.
To classify this Mozart release by Dutch pianist Daria van den Bercken might mean putting it under the heading of modern-piano interpretations influenced by the historical-performance movement. Van den Bercken herself says in her notes that although she comes "up against a wall" when she plays Mozart on a fortepiano, she admires and has been inspired by the work of fortepianist Malcolm Bilson and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Her Mozart is sharply articulated and only lightly pedaled. On another level, though, her readings owe little to historically oriented performances. The "keys to Mozart" in the album title are pretty general (look to opera to understand Mozart's melodies), but van den Bercken's readings are individual and very finely wrought.
"…Stefan Irmer has clearly studied and truly learned this music. So often on a disc of rarely performed music one gets the feeling that the pianist is sight-reading the notes in order to make a recording of previously unrecorded music. Not so here. Irmer performs with wonderful clarity, variety of tone, panache, and commitment. He truly sells the music.
Natural recorded sound, capturing very well the 1901 Steinway used for the recording, rounds out a delightful disc." ~Fanfare
…It's intriguing to imagine how a very slow performance would come off, but Schleiermacher's is a fully persuasive version of a piece that could have a number of very different but valid interpretations. MGD's natural, unprocessed sound is, as is typical for the label, immaculate and vivid.