Complete Mozart Sonatas
This 8-disc hybrid CD/ multichannel SACD release features all 18 Sonatas plus the Fantasie, K. 475, performed by Robert Silverman, engineered and mastered by Graemme Brown, and produced by Ellen Silverman
also available at amazon.com
Sonatas 1 - 18, Fantasie in c, K. 475
The best thing about these recordings is the complete avoidance of any sort of doctrinaire motives hovering in the background; each sonata is taken individually for what it means to convey, with no prerequisites being brought to the table. Think of the crispness of Brendel mixed with the subtlety of Uchida and you might get an idea of what Silverman has accomplished here. Most highly recommended!" ....Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition
VETERAN Canadian pianist Robert Silverman has a very special release in this seven-disc set of Mozart's 18 Piano Sonatas. Here one feels, as he describes in the compelling booklet notes, a view of Mozart where rather than experiencing these great works looking back, with the obvious influences of imprinting and interpretive largesse, we hear them from the inside out, the music organically guiding every step in its own ways. As you get into the set you feel the re-creation at one with the creation; an invigorating perspective of being inside the music rather than looking upon it.
Silverman is a superb pianist whose perfect voicing of chords, natural, unforced tempos, beautifully balanced textures with a tone that's never allowed to over-colour are all served by a warm and finely balanced recording. And the recorded sound is really right - the best I've heard for Mozart piano.
A wonderful set and, for the musician, much to learn from. ****
-- James Manishen, Winnipeg Free Press
Ten years ago Robert Silverman recorded the complete 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, and now he's back with Mozart's 18. Once again, he has provided what may be the most consistently pleasing rendering of the repertoire currently available. His readings are fairly literal, though not to the point of straitjacketing the rhythm or phrasing. In fact, there is a special pleasure in hearing the range of expression he achieves without taking significant liberties with the music as it's written.
Silverman produces a big sound on the Steinway used in these recordings, and that raises questions of authenticity. The pianos Mozart knew were little instruments with delicate timbre and limited dynamic range. As Silverman suggests in his program notes, Mozart would probably have been thrilled with the modern piano if he could have heard, or better still played one. It's also true that, had he had such an instrument available to him, he would probably have written his sonatas differently. But it's a good bet that he would have liked these interpretations.
-- Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen
To paraphrase the wonderful pianist, Schnabel, Mozart is too easy for amateurs and too difficult for professionals. The notes must be played with crystalline clarity, exceptional musicality and a delicate touch. Lucky for us, we have these tenets in abundance in this important new complete set from IsoMike and the great Canadian pianist, Robert Silverman.
There is fire and power in Mozarts magical phrases, and they are peppered with technical challenges. The gravitas, the weight, comes from the artists ability to eliminate the shadow of Beethoven from the modern auditor, and allow Mozarts singular genius a voice of its own. This is precisely what Silverman does in this magnificent set. Each Sonata has the benefits of Silvermans assured technique, passion, and lovely tone, with the small exception of some clangorous playing when the harmony (or Silverman) gets excited. Silverman has mentioned in his fine essay on the Sonatas that
his (Mozarts) piano must sing; it must speak; it must shout at times. So, were warned.
Silvermans phrasing is very beautiful. The slow movements are filled with inspiration and the outer movements unfold naturally the many horizontal lines held this listeners interest for hours, and where gravity takes control of the line, Silverman beguiles with wonderful touch and gorgeous tone. Superb!
The recording by IsoMike is splendid. The booklet notes are very comprehensive great information about Mozart and the Piano, the Sonatas in detail, and the IsoMike recording process.
-- Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia
Any musical artist, when performing the music of another time and place, and on an instrument essentially different from that of the composer, must set his own parameters of interpretation. Silverman chooses to use the resources of the modern piano, but to eschew the romantic and individualistic interpretative styles of playing that grew up along with the modern piano. Instead, he follows whatever directions Mozart gives in his scores and supplements them with what is known of Mozartean performance practice (ornamenting and varying repeats, for example) and what we know of Mozart as a musical personality (again, for example, that he was primarily an opera composer and operatic styles and concepts are present in virtually all his music). When one listens to these performances, one hears the implicit arias, duets and ensembles and the music comes to life in its own terms. Silverman is also keenly aware of the sense of tragedy that lies below the surface of some of Mozarts music -- quite possibly the earliest manifestation of such a tragic sense in instrumental music and he brings it out keenly, still without violating Classical style.
Robert Silvermans album sets a high standard for the performance of the Mozart sonatas (and especially the Fantasy). One may like the renditions or dislike them, one may prefer a different performance of this or that sonata, one may exercise personal taste, one may even disagree with Silverman and believe that the Mozart piano sonatas are generally not among his best works. But these are eminently believable performances: dramatic, lyrical, playful and tragic in their turn, totally in line with both the scores and what we know of Mozart and his time.
-- James Goodfriend, emeritus Music Editor, Stereo Review