The quality of the recorded sound is so perfectly clear on this recording, like finely etched crystal, while at the same time it is so robust and resonant, that it is difficult to believe that the piano played on these two marvelous CDs is a replica of a 1785 Walter fortepiano, a smaller and much more fragile instrument than today's modern concert grand pianos.
The history of the Russian chamber ensemble of the middle of the 20th century, in all possibility, did not know a more intricate yet remarkable brilliant group of musicians than the celebrated trio of Emil Gilels. Leonid Kogan and Mstislav Rostropovich. All to different in their essence were these three artistic individualities – these three virtuosos, spoilt children of fortune, who were brought together at various stages of disclosure of their outstanding talents. At that, there was not a great difference between their respective ages – Gilels was born in 1916, Kogan was born in 1924 and Rostropovich was born in 1927. Nonetheless, whereas Gilels was already able to reconsider and revise in many ways his principles of work, departing further and further from a pure demonstration of capabilities of his breathtaking technique, Rostropovich and Kogan were still passing through their lengthy period of thrill over their virtuosic powers, affecting their audiences in a straightforward manner.
Mozart wrote a plethera of fine chamber music in the galante style of the classical era: Quintets for various instruments, string quartets, string trios, string duos, piano trios, violin sonatas and the two magnificent piano quartets here. With these two quartets, Mozart more-or-less invented the genre which was later taken up by Schumann, Brahms and Dvorak. These piano quartets show Mozart in both a dramatic mode in the minor work and a typical merry mood in the major piece.
This 14-CD set is really very complete (a few absences are mentioned below). Besides the solo fortepiano works, it features works for piano four-hands, two pianos, even works for organ and the adagio for glass harmonica KV 617a, though these works are performed on the fortepiano. Frankly, I can't bear listening to the glass harmonica, but I prefer the organ works played on organ and the CD with Mozart's organ works I recommend is Mozart - L'oeuvre pour orgue, Olivier Vernet, Cédric Meckler, Ligia Digital. Furthermore, this box presents some never before recorded works comprising recent authentications of Mozart's authorship; doubtful and spurious works; fragments. I name these works below.