Mozart conceived three piano-concerti K.413, 414 and 415 in 1782, one year after he had settled in Vienna as a more or less freelance musician. By then he had already composed four concertos for piano and orchestra, one for three (or two) pianos and orchestra, and another one for two pianos and orchestra. It was also the period in which he was working on his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K.384 and on the first String Quartet No. 14, K.387 of the six dedicated to Haydn in 1785.
From onset, his idea was to get these works (K.413, 414 and 415) published; he obviously expected a positive response from the public, not only on the financial level but also as a composer and piano virtuoso. In order to enhance the attraction for his publication, he decided to write these concertos in such a way that they could be performed not only with full orchestra (i.e. strings and winds) but also with a reduced accompaniment of only string quartet. Clearly, Mozart did not consider this strategic starting point as an artistic limitation, but rather as a challenge: in fact, already the score without the wind parts should leave nothing to be desired. This resulted in very careful and beautiful string writing, matching the solo part in the most effective and intimate way. The wind parts were then conceived to accentuate and “colour” certain passages in the accompaniment with even more depth.
Total time: 01:14:27
Bert van der Wolf
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Bert van der Wolf
Bert vand er Wolf
Kapel Holland College, Leuven Belgium
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|Release Date||February 10, 2017|
“This will be one of my briefest reviews. The short of it: This is a ‘must have’ album.
Three of Mozart’s sunniest piano concerti in chamber version is not new. But this one is.
We don’t deal here with so called ‘reduced’ versions. Mozart meant them, right from the start, to be issued in a chamber format for piano and string quartet as well. He cleverly constructed these concerti – which he composed for his ‘debut’ in Vienna – in such a way that the strings carry the heart of the matter, whereas the winds were assigned to adding ornamental elements which could be removed without amputating the beauty of the music.
Why a ‘must have’? Because it is so very well played; because the program is so generously filled (over 74 minutes), but above all, because Sigiswald Kuijken had the genial idea to replace the cello with a contra bass. The resulting sound spectrum is full & round with such a beautiful sonority that it made my comparison: Jean-Philippe Collard and the Quator Muir (EMI CDC 7 49156 2) sounding thin and bottomless, fading away completely in the ‘bloom’ here on display.
As to be expected, there are some mechanical noises from the forte piano, but for the rest Bert van der Wolf and North Star Recording Services are once more at their best!
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