This new MD&G disc has the slight misfortune of being released exactly in conjunction with a similar collection on the other German label Arts which retails at mid to budget. Add to that, the former have chosen to fill the rest of the disc with solo piano music by Mendelssohn instead of the more exciting orchestral works such as the Capriccio and Rondo Brillant which the latter do, to their distinctive advantage, at least in my opinion.
Leonskaja plays well enough with a fine rubato especially in the first movement of the First Concerto where the Molto Allegro con fuoco really comes alive. She receives fine support from Volkov and the delectable Camerata Salzburg in an adequate acoustic which is markedly improved by the 5-channel SACD sound. The solo piano recordings are nothing to write home about although the Wiegenlied and the Venetian Gondola pieces are winningly done.
Much will depend on personal taste but there are far finer recordings in the catalogue from such luminous examples as Katin, Richter and Curzon. However fans of this enterprising label will enjoy this project, especially the excellent sound, the copious notes and the lovely painting on the front cover.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech