Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595 (1791) [28:45]
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 (1785) [31:20]
Maria João Pires (piano)
Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
rec. September 2011, Auditorium Teatro Manzoni, Bologna, Italy &
Auditorium, Bolzano, Italy
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0075 [60:16]
There are still eight months left before I have to choose my Recordings
of the Year but I already have a cast-iron certainty for my 2013 list.
Lisbon-born Maria João Pires and Milanese conductor Claudio
Abbado have been collaborating on and off for forty years. Pires clearly
has a special affinity for Mozart’s music and has been playing
Mozart concertos publicly since the age of seven. In a long career
Abbado has recorded a substantial number of Mozart works including
some with his handpicked Orchestra Mozart of which he is artistic
director. On some occasions they play using period instruments. Their
2007 Bologna Archiv
Produktion recording of the Violin Concertos and Sinfonia
Concertante with baroque violinist Giuliano Carmignola used period
instruments. On the present Deutsche Grammophon disc period instruments
are not used and Pires plays a glorious modern Grand piano.
Mozart was to die within a year of completing his Piano Concerto
No. 27. At its 1791 première in Vienna it is said that
Mozart, a formidable pianist himself, directed from the piano. Typical
of scores composed towards the end of a composer’s life this
beautiful work is often described of having an “autumnal”
quality. The opening Allegro at over thirteen minutes is marked
by crisp and vibrant playing. Pires’ lightness of touch is remarkable
with everything sounding fresh and invigorating. Abbado’s direction
reveals plenty of detail and colour. Pires is ravishingly tender in
the serene Larghetto. The strings sound as if they have been
dipped in gold. The Rondo is buoyant and airy and striking
for Pires’ concentration and effortless technique.
The Piano Concerto No. 20 comes from an extraordinarily productive
period. Mozart felt settled in Vienna and that was where as soloist
he gave the première of the score. This is the first of only
two such piano concertos that he composed in a minor key. Pires chooses
to use Beethoven’s cadenzas. In the opening Allegro I
was stuck by the vibrant orchestral accompaniment while Pires demonstrates
her innate control and profound musicality. With its much repeated
opening theme the Romanze is gloriously rendered. Pires’s
playing in the finale matches exuberance with clean articulation.
The Deutsche Grammophon engineers have provided satisfyingly close
and well balanced sound at the service of these breathtaking performances.
Pires’ unmannered playing is crisp and fluid with everything
sounding natural and effortless. An astonishing meeting of minds.
Masterwork Index: Mozart Concerto
20 ~~ Concerto