Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Piano Concertos - Volume 7
Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat major, K595 (1791) [30:31]
Piano Concerto No.5 in D major K175 (1773) [21:35]
Three additional cadenzas [4:05]
Rondo in D major for piano and orchestra K382 (1782) [10:18]
Additional cadenza [1:33]
Cyprien Katsaris (piano)
Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra/Yoon Kuk Lee
rec. live October 1997 (No.5) and April 1998 (No.27), Mozarteum, Grosser Saal, Salzburg; live March 1999, Great Hall of Salzburg University
PIANO 21 P21 039N [67:57]
 
Cyprien Katsaris began his own label, Piano 21, back in 2001 and it has advanced rapidly. This is, for example, the seventh instalment in his Mozart Concerto series and his archive continues to generate discs at an almost industrial rate of productivity.
 
All the Mozart Concertos were recorded live with the Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Yoon Kuk Lee. Both conductor and soloist are of one mind in the course of the two concertos, and the Rondo, presented in this particular instalment. The orchestra is imaginative, full of style, and well blended. My occasional feeling that there was a lack of string weight was often, but not always, confounded by a well rounded tutti. One feature of the series as a whole has been Katsarisí interest in presenting variant cadenzas. In the case of the B flat major he performs both of Mozartís in their rightful place, but in the much earlier work he adds, separately tracked, an extra cadenza for each movement (three in all, therefore) ó two are ĎBí variants by Mozart but one, for the finale, is by Katsaris himself.
 
Naturally this would be of some interest, but not overwhelmingly so, if the performances were sluggish or stiff. Fortunately they are nothing of the kind. They may not have the kind of aura generated by, say, Curzon or Fischer in their Mozart recordings, but then the aesthetic approach is different. The B flat major shows how Katsaris plays with warmth but without a rococo quality, or crystalline brilliance. He remains communicative at all times. The strings of the orchestra vary and increase their bow pressure sensitively in the slow movement and in the finale the horns are rightly given their head though equally rightly not allowed to obscure detail. The finaleís cadenza is played with a flourish, but with control.
 
The D major concerto was written eighteen years earlier, when Mozart was 17. Itís an excitingly verbose work, with dramatic passagework and Alberti basses to the fore. Itís also a work of self-confidence and velocity, played here with exciting vibrancy. The slow movement is richly moulded but not indulged, whilst the finale returns to the dynamism of the opening, including fugal passages, imitative phrases and a real sense of brio. Applause is cut short by Katsarisí own cadenza for the finale. Iím not wholly sure whether this is how he played it at the concert ó heís something of a maverick on occasion, and I wouldnít put it past him ó or whether this has been spliced in. The other two cadenzas reveal Mozartís alternative thoughts on the first two movementís cadenzas and they all provide plenty of interest.
 
The Rondo is rollicking good fun but the Adagio section reveals Katsarisí humanity and sensitivity. The ĎBí cadenza, written by Mozart, is also included.
 
A recommendation for this particular coupling depends really on the conjoining of early and late concertos and the addition of those cadenzas. But with an exceptionally quiet audience, a feeling of collegiate interplay, and warm-hearted performances, Katsarisís take should not be overlooked.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 
Warm-hearted performances Ö Katsarisís take on the Mozart concertos should not be overlooked.