Mozart Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 22
Kristian Bezuidenhout gives us characteristically thought-provoking performances of two of the great Mozart Concertos. Particularly felicitous is his use of solo orchestral strings for some of the music’s more intimate moments: the wonderful C major interlude in the variation slow movement of the Concerto No. 22, K482; or the lyrical minuet that interrupts the energetic ‘hunting’ finale of the same work. More controversially, just as Bezuidenhout decorates Mozart’s piano part where he deems it appropriate, so some of the wind players are occasionally permitted to do the same, with less happy results. That C major interlude in the Andante of K482, for instance, is a duet for flute and bassoon. It is both intricate and perfect as it stands and it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to meddle with Mozart’s melodic lines in this way.
These are, nevertheless, stimulating performances, and K482 – Mozart’s first work of its kind to include clarinets – is particularly impressive, with an appropriately solemn and weighty account of its opening movement, taken at a genuine four beats to the bar.
As a bonus the recording also includes the Rondo in A major K386 – a piece that requires a minimal amount of reconstruction to fill in its few missing portions. (Mozart’s manuscript once belonged to the 19th-century English composer Sterndale Bennett, who had no compunctions about cutting it up to form souvenirs for his friends.)
Altogether a rewarding disc and one that Bezuidenhout’s many admirers will not want to be without.