A Discovered Recording

I just discovered a wonderful recording by Mitsuko Uchida that puts her in a whole new light.

On April 18th I will be hearing pianist Mitsuko Uchida in recital at Carnegie Hall. When a program is part of a subscription series I often do not look up the works being played until a few days before the performance. I was quite surprised that she is not playing her usual Mozart and company repertoire. Instead, she is two Preludes and Fugues from Book II of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces Opus 19 and three works by Schumann: Waldszenen, Sonata No. 2 in G Minor and Fünf Gesänge der Frühe.

I have to confess that I did not know the Schoenberg works at all and, in researching them, discovered that in 2001 Uchida recorded them among other works of the Second Viennese School. What an incredible recording. 

It begins with a performance of the Schoenberg Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 42. Pierre Boulez is conducting the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. 

My only reference recording of this work is the one by Alfred Brendel; which I always found a bit clinical and cold. Uchida’s interpretation is deeply personal which, given Schoenberg’s notes, makes sense. While the movements are marked Adante, Molto Allegro, Adagio and Giocoso, Schoenberg’s notes name them “Life was so easy”, “Suddenly hatred broke out”, “A grave situation”, “But life goes on”. I was stunned by the vehemence Uchida brings out in the 2nd movement. 

For the remainder of the recording she plays an intensely rhythmic Piano Variations, Opus 21:1, by Anton Webern, Three Piano Pieces, Opus 11:1 by Schoenberg and the Six Small Piano Pieces I will be hearing her play at Carnegie Hall. 

If you associate Mitsuko Uchida with only only Mozart this recording is a revelation. 

Highly recommended!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: