For the sequel to his first Mozart CD with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, pianist Martin Helmchen has once again chosen two strongly contrasting piano concertos in one and the same key: this time B flat major. The works are from two entirely different periods in Mozart’s life. Piano Concerto no. 15, K. 450 is one of six composed in 1784, three of which were written for two other pianists, Barbara von Player and Maria Theresia van Paradis. Together with the Clarinet Concerto, K. 622, Piano concerto no. 27, K 595, composed in the same year, 1791, forms Mozart’s swansong in the genre and was written in a period when the good old days of his Akademien (or concerts) had been consigned to the past.
Total time: 00:55:27
|Original Recording Format|
Jean Marie Geijsen
NedPho Koepel, Amsterdam, Holland
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||September 4, 2015|
International Record Review
This is playing of extraordinary quality and character, and a fine partnership between soloist, conductor and orchestra. This disc is recorded in outstandingly clear sound and the notes are informative – I was enchanted by this release.
Classical CD Review
“…Helmchen has returned to Mozart with these beautiful performance of two of the composer’s liveliest concertos, Nos. 15 and 27. Crystalline pianism throughout, with splendid accompaniment from the fine Dutch orchestra and conductor Nikolic. Well-balanced audio, with natural balance between soloist and orchestra are another plus. Another Mozart concerto easily could have been included; playing time is rather brief. ”
On this release, Helmchen’s second of Mozart concertos, Helmchen differentiates the two concertos rather than applying a standard Mozart concerto mode, and for this alone the album is worth hearing.
In the lovely performance of the Piano Concerto No. 15 in B flat major, K. 450, Helmchen adopts an almost liquid texture, focusing on the spaces between the notes.
Most unusual is the Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, where Helmchen rejects the death-haunted innocent transcendence loaded onto this work by the Romantics. Instead, in his hands, Mozart is depicted as having absolutely no plans to die, but as ready for the innovations that would have made him into a post-Classical composer had he lived a few more years.
The harmonically adventurous development section of the first movement is not treated as some quietly mystical experience but is given a full-blooded reading suggesting Beethovenian dimensions.
The finale here doesn’t quite work: the limpid rondo theme seems to come out of nowhere in this heavier reading. But Helmchen’s reading is consistently absorbing, and he’s plainly a young Mozartian to watch. PentaTone’s sound is awesomely transparent.
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