MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 13 in C, K. 415. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491.
Martin Helmchen, pianist; Netherlands Chamber Orch/Gordon Nikolic, cond.
PENTATONE SACD PTC 5186 305 TT:60:13 (also includes 30 min. DVD)

SCHUBERT: Sonata in D, Op. 53, D 850. Three Piano Pieces, Op. Post. D 946.
Sergey Koudriakov, pianist
AUDITE SACD 92.546 TT: 70:47

SCHILDT: Complete organ works. MORHARD: Complete organ works.
Friedhelm Flamme, organist
cpo SACD 777 343 TT: 69:35

This is the first recording by prize-winning young German pianist Martin Helmchen, who won the 2001 Clara Haskil Competition, a major award indeed. He plays two Mozart concertos, the somber No 24 in C minor, and the concerto that apparently was the first Helmchen ever played, the light-hearted No. 13. . Both are presented with style and character; in the first movement of No. 24, Helmchen plays a cadenza written by another young pianist, Lars Vogt. Audio is excellent, with some of the most natural piano sound you'll hear, with performers in front. A bonus is an extra DVD. During its 29 minute duration we see Helmchen in editing sessions for the recording and an interview in which he discusses his early career. A fine SACD!

Russian pianist Sergei Koudriakov was born in 1978 and trained primarily in Moscow. He also won a major prize, the Geza Anda Competition, in 2006. For his first recording on the Audite label he has chosen two of Schubert's greatest piano works, the mighty D major sonata, D. 850 composed in 1825, plus the three pieces written in the year of the composer's death, 1828, called impromptus by some, although others consider the three together to be another sonata of a different style from his earlier works. Beautiful performances by Koudriakov; we should be hearing much more from this remarkable young artist. As usual with Audite, audio quality is superb, and the SACD is well-filled.

I congratulate cpo for their enterprise in focusing on unusual repertory, usually in exemplary performances. Here we have the complete organ works of two 17th century composers, Melchior Schildt (1592-1667) and Peter Morhard (?-1685), music that was performed on the original organ in St. Bartholomew's Church in Dornum. The organ was destroyed by fire but has been rebuilt and Friedheim Flamme performs on the rebuilt instrument playing all of the known music of these composers, recordings made in the church in April 2007.. Both composers wrote brief preludes and chorales, all described in minute detail in the organist's scholarly CD notes. Certain collectors will find all of this of great interest; I find it incredibly boring. This is Flamme's fifth CD of obscure organ music. For scholars and libraries only.

R.E.B. (October 2008)