Living Voice • Vox Palladian/Palladian Basso Loudspeaker System £252,000

June 3, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“I might describe the Vox Olympian as inviting — as in inviting you to step into the music. The Vox Palladian shares that attribute but takes it a whole stage further, inviting you into the music and, beyond that, into the performance itself, getting you up close and personal with the performers, their character and their idiosyncrasies — and you don’t get much more idiosyncratic than Clifford Curzon under the direction of Benjamin Britten. Curzon’s 1970 recording of the late Mozart Piano Concertos Nos.20 and 27 [Decca SXL 7007] was captured at the Snape Maltings by the Decca “dream team” of Ray Minshull and Kenneth Willkinson, although it wasn’t released until 1978 as, almost immediately, Curzon felt he’d come to an even deeper interpretational understanding of the work, making him less than satisfied with the performance just laid down. Yet, Britten and the English Chamber Orchestra had already established a fine reputation for their Mozart, were playing on home turf and the combination of their intimate understanding of the hall’s warm but lively acoustic and a sympathetic production that centered on the musical performance rather than the sonic attributes, made this a wonderful record when it finally appeared. Curzon only released it on the understanding that he’d get “another go” at the 27th, but although that was scheduled for 1982, illness precluded its completion and the pianist was never to re-record a work that became something of an obsession and to dominate his later years.

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