One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases



The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation


such a success


An outstanding performance


make acquaintance without delay


Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc


Strong advocacy
for a British composer


Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted


Piano Music 5CDs


Consistently fine


Rare and interesting repertoire


An excellent introduction


A Celebration on Record


An issue of importance


Richard RIJNVOS
A splendid disc


both enlightening and rewarding
additional review

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 (1785) [28:06]
Overture to Don Giovanni, K. 527 (1787) [5:54]
Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor, K. 466 (1785) [31:08]
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)
Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy
rec. 2018, The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester, UK
Piano Concertos Vol. 4
CHANDOS CHAN20083 [65:08]

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has been a busy pianist for the last decade or so, amassing a huge discography for the Chandos label, not to mention his very considerable concert activity. One outstanding aspect of his artistry is his ability to adapt to so many different composers and their styles, from Haydn and Beethoven to Prokofiev and Stravinsky. He’s done the complete sonatas of Beethoven and has taken on numerous other projects, including the complete piano works of Debussy and Ravel and the sonatas of Haydn. I have his set of the complete concertos of Prokofiev and have found it competitive with the excellent cycles of Ashkenazy (Decca), Browning (RCA), and Bronfman (Sony), and preferable to the fine efforts of Beroff (EMI), Mustonen (Ondine), El Bacha (Rewind), and Paik (Naxos). Thus, I was eager to sample his Mozart, which I find quite compelling, making me regret that I missed the first three volumes in this ongoing series.

Bavouzet plays both concertos with moderate to quite brisk tempos, the finales particularly fleet. He uses Beethoven’s cadenzas in K. 466 and Friedrich Gulda’s in K. 467, both choices quite fine, at least to my ears. In general, his approach here exhibits nuance and elegance in his subtle legato touch, but he can turn stormy and sinewy or playful and light when those features are appropriate. Gábor Takács-Nagy partners him well, taking a similarly lean approach with the orchestra, never going to an extreme in his use of rubato or dynamics, letting the music, in effect, speak for itself.

The C major Concerto leads off here, and its first movement is moderately paced. Bavouzet captures the frolicsome yet elegant character of the music about as well as any pianist I’ve heard. He plays with utter confidence, his dynamics so naturally fitting the emotional flow of the music. He begins the Gulda cadenza in a jolting, strident manner, presenting a nice contrast to the mostly good-natured music that preceded. All in all, this a very effective rendering of the opening panel. The second movement is phrased to exhibit elegance and dreaminess, rather than sentimentality or mawkishness, characteristics which some pianists apparently tend to favor. Bavouzet does manage to impart the necessary sense of tension as the music proceeds. His additions or improvisations in this movement (a common practice among pianists because of Mozart’s sometimes sparse writing here) are tasteful and well imagined. The finale is brisk and playful, a true joy. As suggested earlier, Takács-Nagy and the Manchester Camerata give Bavouzet fine support throughout.

The D minor Concerto, the better of the two in my view, opens with an appropriately dark demeanor, the music restless and now divulging greater weight with a more potent sound from the orchestra. Takács-Nagy imparts urgency to the music as rhythms are more pointed and accents deftly applied. Bavouzet adds just a bit more muscle to his tone, though the gracefulness is still there and his smooth and consistent manner of phrasing remains. The whole movement has impact, coming across about as well as I’ve ever heard it. The second movement is appropriately lighter here, the music in the outer sections airy and elegant. The middle section takes off with urgency and maintains tension throughout. The finale, as earlier suggested is briskly paced. Still, Bavouzet makes his tempo work nicely, the music having more weight and darkness than you’ll encounter in most other versions. Bavouzet’s brilliant performance of the Beethoven cadenza adds to this more serious take on the music. That said, the chipper alternate theme still comes across playfully and subtly. Takács-Nagy and company offer fine support here and throughout the concerto. They also deliver an excellent performance of the Don Giovanni Overture, which comes between the two works.

Chandos provides vivid and well balanced sound in all works. The pianist whom Bavouzet may be closest to in style, at least in these concertos, is Alfred Brendel. Brendel’s approach, especially in his tempos, is quite similar, at least in his recorded versions of both works with Neville Marriner and in K. 466 with Mackerras. Even his tone bears a resemblance to Bavouzet’s, though at times Brendel does tend to be a bit brittle. As for the competition in these concertos, I would say that in K. 466 Serkin (DG), Richter (DG) and Pires (Euroarts) are all fine choices, and in K. 467 Simone Dinnerstein (Sony) is excellent, as is Brendel (Philips, with Marriner). Bavouzet’s accounts can stand proudly with all these, and if one wants a coupling of these two concertos, I would make his performances on this Chandos disc my first choice.

Previous review: Brian Wilson

Robert Cummings
 



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage


a vibrant slice of life


BRITISH CELLO WORKS
stylistically assured


About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs


Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome


An inspired partnership
additional review


TOSCA
A valuable document



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger