Review By Bryce Morrison,Gramophone,November 2006
After an alarmingly long delay Naxos's "Great Pianists - Mosieiwitch" continues with Vol 9. So here, thankfully, is an incomparable pianist admired this side of idolatry by, among others, Rachmaninov and, later, Bolet in Beethoven. Here, in Beethoven, his performances sweeping all earnestness and solemnity to the winds with a debonair, scintillating ease and elegance. Rarely can the term "lightweight" have come to seem such a super-fine virtue in Beethoven, an approach as far from the Schnabel tradition as possible. Moiseiwitsch was a virtuoso in the most aristocratic sense, incomparably fleet and vivacious in the Path�tique's Allegro di molto con brio, coolly without falseness or special pleading in the Adagio, sleek and feline in the finale. He eases his way into the
True, there are many endearingly old-fashioned touches - a luxuriant change of tempo for the second subject, the odd unmarked arpeggiation for added spice - but everything is as true as it is personal. The encores by Beethoven, including the composer's elaborate first thoughts for the Waldstein's slow movement, Scarlatti-Tausig and Weber (has anyone ever played the Moto perpetuo from the C major Sonata with such nonchalant grace and brilliance or altered the final page so mischievously?) are all vintage.
Such playing is beyond price and to have Moiseiwitsch's Chopin and, indeed, everything else on Naxos's super-bargain price would be musical glory indeed. The sound of the recordings has come up excellently and this issue is another indelible reminder of a sadly far gone age.