ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Piano Concertos Nos 11, 8 & 13
PERFORMER: Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano); Die Kölner Akademie/ Michael Alexander Willens
CATALOGUE NO: BIS BIS-2074 (hybrid CD/SACD)
This is another highly accomplished instalment in what is already establishing itself as one of the finest period performance cycles of the Mozart concertos. This volume features the C major No. 8, K246 and F major No. 11, K413, among the least familiar of Mozart’s works in that genre, perhaps because they so conspicuously avoid any element of display. Characteristically, each has a finale in a gentle minuet tempo, and in the earlier work the piano part actually tails off more than 20 bars before the end, leaving the orchestra to wrap proceedings up on its own; while the F major Concerto fades away in a pianissimo ending.
K246 was written less than a year before the famous Jeunehomme Concerto K271, and although it’s a less profound piece the subtlety of its interplay between piano and orchestra is a constant delight. Slightly more ostentatious (though again with a pianissimo conclusion) is the other C major Concerto No. 13, K415 which Ronald Brautigam plays here, which has trumpets and drums in its scoring. Its jaunty finale finds room for a slow, tragic episode featuring a hauntingly expressive piano cantilena and pizzicato violins.
Ronald Brautigam and the Cologne Academy under Michael Alexander Willens offer stylish and enjoyable performances of all three concertos, with only the finale of the Eighth Concerto perhaps a little too impatient to convey the music’s graceful character.