Ao a little while ago Classical Explorer looked at Mozart 1785, part of a project called "Mozart Momentum" and featuring the Norwegian pianist Leif-Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Here's the natural follow-up, MM1786, a mix of Piano Concertos (Nos. 23 and 24), the Recitative and Aria "Ch'io mo scordi di te ... Non temer, amato bene," K 505 for soprano and orchestra with obbligato keyboard, the Piano Quartet in E flat, K 493 and the Piano Trio in B flat, K 503.
This video explains the basis of the project, recordings around a tour that celebrated two of the most fertle years of Mozart's life:
The two piano concertos book-end the programme, with another piece purely for piano and orchestra (the Rondo) offering contrast between the two chamber works. The concert aria is placed second.
This is a terrific performance of Mozart's radiant A major Concerto, K 488. The slow movement, in F sharp minor, and beautifully shaded here with some terrific wind playing from the members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (listen to that bubbling clarinet!):
The irrepressible spirits of the finale seem set to bubble over here, full of the spirit of Mozart's opera le nozze di Figaro; the music constantly shifts, and this performance (with Andsnes' piano positioned in the centre of the orchestra, with no lid on the piano) foregrounds the delicious exhanges.
It is a pleasure always, to experience the singing of Christiane Karg. Here, she takes on the concert aria, Ch'io mo scordi di te ... Non temer, amato bene, which features a piano obbligato. Written for Nancy Storace (who had sung Susanna in Figaro), the aria is consistently beautiful, the entrance of the piano at almost exactly two minutes in a moment of exquisite beauty:
Karg is the perfect Mozartian, and after the outgoing nature of the concert aria, the more intimate feel of chamber music, specifically the E flat Piano Quartet, is perfect. Let's hear the first movement, full of life: Andsnes is joined by Matthew Truscott, violin; Joel Hunter, viola; and Frank-Michael Guthmann, cello:
The finale is a set of variations on a gavotte-like theme.
The second disc offers one of Mozart's Rondos, that in D, K 485 for solo piano (which takes a theme from the G minor Piano Quartet - ont the one we hear here - and constructs a set of variations on it):
Andsnes is amost congenial guide; as he is in the Piano Trio in B flat, K 502. Thsi is a work fo purest delight that masks the complexities of composition (the effectively monothematic first movement - and yet what diversity we hear! - and the lighthearted approach to counterpoint in the finale. Truscott and Gluthmann are again Andsnes' colleagues. Here's that finale:
The Piano Concerto No. 24 is one of only two of Mozart's 27 in a minor key. Here it is C minor, and uses the largest orchestra in a concerto to date (he includes clarinets, oboes and timpani). The result is a first movement of unusual depth and colour, whilc Andsnes and his Mahler Chamber Orchetsra explore in vast detail:
The colours Andsnes finds in the central Larghetto are wonderful, as is his way with the shifting nature of the finale.
A fine companion to Mozart 1785! Excellent, detailed notes by Andrew Mellor complete this lovely release.MM1786 Amazon link