Classical CD Reviews

MOZART: The Complete Piano Works for Four Hands; Sonata in C, K. 545 (arr. Grieg); Fantasia in F Minor for Musical Clock, K. 608 (arr. Busoni)


Published on May 15, 2005

MOZART: The Complete Piano Works for Four Hands; Sonata in C, K. 545 (arr. Grieg); Fantasia in F Minor for Musical Clock, K. 608 (arr. Busoni)
MOZART: The Complete Piano Works for Four Hands; Sonata in C, K. 545
(arr. Grieg); Fantasia in F Minor for Musical Clock, K. 608 (arr.
Busoni) – Mischa and Cipa Dichter, piano – Musical Heritage Society
5479317 69:48; 44:04; 61:49 ****:

Mischa and
Cipa Dichter appeared some years ago in Atlanta for a joint recital: I
recall having been favorably impressed, given Cipa’s slightly more
limited bravura skills; and Mischa played a second half of first-rate
Liszt, including a mighty version of the Vallee D’Obermann. When a
friend asked me about my impressions of the recital at yet another
concert, I proffered my praise; whereupon he said the local
Journal-Constitution critic had shot the whole Dichter concert down. I
replied that “To be both deaf and stupid was for a critic a bad
combination,” only to be informed that said critic was standing right
behind me! Well, get thee behind me. . .

The three Musical Heritage CDs here present testify to a nexus of
musical kinships, not the least being the Dichters’ inheriting the
Mozart mantle from their joint teacher, Rosina Lhevinne. Fairly
recently, I reviewed this same repertory with Artur Balsam and Nadia
Reisenberg, so the glories and infinite charms of Mozart’s sparkling,
crystalline writing for four hands is fresh in my mind. The fleet C
Major Sonata K. 521 is a case in point, with its elastic lines and
several hints of the K. 595 Piano Concerto. The D Major K. 448 Sonata
is among the treasures of musical art, rife with high spirits and
thrilling runs and vocal fioritura. No less moving is the B-flat Sonata
K. 358, with its ornaments from the galant style, its chaste melodic
contour in the Adagio (with its own echoes of the Divertimento in D, K.
136).

The C Minor Adagio and Fugue is best known in its string quartet/string
orchestra arrangement, K. 546, the piece that taught Tchaikovsky
counterpoint. The Dichters keep its dark passion and bustling energy
moving in clear lines. For rich, dark passing-dissonances, try the F
Minor Fantasia K. 594. The most intriguing selection is the Sonata in
C, K. 19d, composed by a nine-year-old boy fascinated with Alberti bass
and the constructs of J.C. Bach. Ferruccio Busoni arranged the F Minor
Fantasia, K. 608, originally composed for Musical Clockwork or Glass
Harmonica, whose harmonic daring and angular serpentine melos make for
an audacious ride – almost gothic in its eerie sensibility. The other
curio is Grieg’s arrangement of the Sonata in C K. 545 for two pianos,
whose independent part Mischa Dichter performs. The added part provides
a kind of commentary at cadences and occasional tinkling cascades. It’s
pretty, but is it Mozart? A labor of love with affectionate and often
challenging ensemble, this set is a winner.

- Gary Lemco




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