Anderszewski and Chamber Orchestra of Europe perform Mozart piano concertos

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Warner Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Piano Concertos 25 & 27
PERFORMER: Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 9029572422

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Two of Mozart’s biggest and best- loved concertos, the majestic C major and the intimate, more wistful B flat, his last, receive performances here that are in many ways exemplary.

Piotr Anderszewski’s pianism feels splendidly effortless: there’s gorgeous legato, immense clarity and the impression throughout
of great care and affection. As for his direction from the keyboard, he gives the music time to breathe, never shying away from a gentle slow-down – applied with good sense – or a thoughtful manipulation of expressive phrasing. In No. 25, K503, he performs a cadenza of his own which is not only excellent, but faithful to Mozart’s quasi- operatic style.

Anderszewski and his colleagues capture the chamber- like interactions between soloist and orchestra. Moreover, there’s occasionally a hint of something magical in the balance of instruments: for instance, in the B flat’s slow movement, the mingling of piano, violin and flute on the melody’s final return. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s woodwind perform like the stars they are, and even if I do long for some vibrato on the strings, the finesse of this playing will please many who don’t.

Sometimes, though, these beautiful, well thought-out and highly sensitive performances seem limited by their very seriousness: operatic, yes, but only as far as opera seria is concerned. Mozart’s music holds so much joie de vivre, wit and humour that one does want some of it brought out in the concertos. The beauty of Anderszewski’s interpretations only needs that extra twinkle to perfect it.

Jessica Duchen