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Víkingur Ólafsson to release new album of works by Mozart and his contemporaries

The Icelandic pianist's new recording for Deutsche Grammophon will pair Mozart with leading contemporaries Haydn and CPE Bach, alongside rarely performed composers Galuppi and Cimarosa

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Víkingur Ólafsson is set to release a new album of works by Mozart and his contemporaries later this year, following the success of his previous recordings of Philip Glass, JS Bach, Debussy and Rameau.

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In his new recording, Ólafsson presents some of his favourite Mozart keyboard works – predominantly from the latter part of the composer’s life – alongside pieces written by Mozart’s contemporaries. Works by Haydn and CPE Bach will be paired with the rarely recorded Galuppi and Cimarosa. It will be Ólafsson‘s fourth album released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

‘I find this decade of Mozart’s life and art endlessly fascinating,’ Ólafsson says. ‘Mozart was not just a composer, and I feel that when he was writing for himself as a virtuoso pianist he indulged more than ever in the sublime playfulness that lay at the core of his originality and inventiveness.’

The album will also feature Ólafsson‘s own transcriptions: arrangements of two sonatas by Cimarosa and a solo piano transcription of the Adagio from Mozart’s Fourth String Quartet. Mozart’s Ave verum corpus will be heard in an arrangement by Franz Liszt, composed in the final year of Mozart’s life.

The Icelandic pianist won BBC Music Magazine‘s Recording of the Year in 2019 for his recording of Bach piano transcriptions.

‘When I play Mozart’s music, I feel like the ink has just dried on the page and the music has just been written,’ Ólafsson says in the album trailer, released today. ‘It’s strange because the music is 230 years old, but somehow he becomes your musical mirror. I feel like when I play him, I get to know myself as a musician … he seems to reflect your innermost core in music.’

You can now listen to the first single from the album, the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 16. 

Read all BBC Music Magazine‘s reviews of Víkingur Ólafsson’s recordings here.

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Víkingur Ólafsson’s new labum, Mozart and his Contemporaries, will be released on Deutsche Grammophon on 3 September 2021.