Mozart - Piano Concertos K. 413,414 & 415
February 08, 2018
This will be one of my briefest reviews. The short of it: This is a ‘must have’. Three of Mozart’s sunniest piano concerti in chamber version is not new on disk. 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 programme 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!