AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 2001 Sept/Oct. BEVERSLUIS, MOZART: Piano Concertos 21+23; Rondo K 382 Tamas ERDI Budapest Weiner Szasz Chamber Orchestra/Tamas VASARY – ECHIQUIER 6 -66 minutes
Tamas ERDI made his recording debut two years ago on the same label, playing Mozart’s D-minor Concerto and the Two-Piano Concerto with Tamas Vasary and the Hungarian Radio Youth Orchestra. (Vasary conducting from the keyboard in the latter.) It elicited a rave rewiev from Thomas McClain / May/Jun 2000) who, in describing the (then 20-year-old) pianist’s playing, went so far as to say that “the word ‘ remarkable’ seems inadequate”. That’s very high praise indeed, but after listening to this release I wholeheartedly agree. What makes Erdi’s achievement all the more remarkable is the fact that he was born blind. Mr McClain candidly confessed that he prompted him to approach the recording sceptically, and I did too. But my doubts were quickly dispelled. This is absolutely splendid Mozart playing. There is not the slightest concession to physical disability: no safe tempos, no overpedalling, no hesitations, before awkward keyboard leaps or to manage difficult hand positions. Every technical challenge is faced head-on and executed with a combination of pianistic finesse, interpretive sophistication, and physical effortlessness that is nothing short of astounding. Tamas Vasary and the Weiner Szasz Chamber Orchestra are with him every step of the way, their occasional thin string tone more than compensated for by their crisp and stylish support. According to the liner notes, Erdi and Vasary collaborate regularly – a claim that will come as no surprise to anyone who listens attentively to this release. In both concertos soloist and conductor not only listen to each other but anticipate and (I dare say) bring out the best in each other. This kind of intimate rapport could never be achieved in a few rehearsals sandwiched between pressing schedule demands. May we hope for the complete Mozart Piano Concertos from this team? I cannot end this review on a technical note. Listening to this was a very moving experience both musically and extra-musically. What impressed me even more than the manifold beauties of the performances was the sheer palpable joy in music-making communicated by this blind artist. We have all known people whose physical disability slowly reduced them to inactivity, self-pity, and bitterness. Like its predecessor, this stands as a permanent reminder that such despair can be combated and transcended. As such, it is a testimony to the courage and resiliency of the human spirit.This entry was posted on Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 07:07 and is filed under Review.