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Mozart Momentum 1786

Christiane Karg (soprano); Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) (Sony Classical)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Mozart
Piano Concertos Nos 23 & 24; Piano Quartet No. 2; Piano Trio No. 3; Rondo in D, K485; Ch’io mi scordi di te?, K505
Christiane Karg (soprano); Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
Sony Classical 19439854512   117:31 mins (2 discs)

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The idea is excellent – a programme of works completed by Mozart within a single year. Leif Ove Andsnes has already recorded an earlier selection from 1785, titled Mozart Momentum 1785; and given that the first few months of the next year – celebrated in this album headlined Mozart Momentum 1786 – were largely taken up with the creation of an operatic masterwork in The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s rate and quality of production for the rest of 1786 seems all the more amazing. This sheer range of achievement presents a demanding challenge to any artist trying to do full justice to all of it.

Andsnes’s interpretations have a no-nonsense consistency that admirably avoids tendentious point-making; and there’s an attractive feeling of ego-free comradeship with his fellow artists in the concerto and chamber performances alike, as also in Christiane Karg’s beautifully sung ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te?’

What doesn’t get conveyed so readily is the sense of near-supernatural creative freedom that makes Mozart’s music so special. This quality is unmistakable when it’s there. Andsnes’s playing of the D major Rondo sparkles as required; the B flat Piano Trio is graced with scintillating contributions from all three of its performers; and the tumultuous sweep of Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor is delivered with power and verve. But the feeling doesn’t quite come across that the E flat Piano Quartet, for instance, is also one of Mozart’s most fabulously inventive masterworks. And the on-off emphasis on non vibrato period-style string tone doesn’t intersect convincingly enough with the sound of Andsnes’s choice of modern concert grand. Malcolm Hayes

Piano Concertos Nos 23 & 24; Piano Quartet No. 2; Piano Trio No. 3; Rondo in D, K485; Ch’io mi scordi di te?, K505
Christiane Karg (soprano); Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
Sony Classical 19439854512   117:31 mins (2 discs)

The idea is excellent – a programme of works completed by Mozart within a single year. Leif Ove Andsnes has already recorded an earlier selection from 1785, titled Mozart Momentum 1785; and given that the first few months of the next year – celebrated in this album headlined Mozart Momentum 1786 – were largely taken up with the creation of an operatic masterwork in The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s rate and quality of production for the rest of 1786 seems all the more amazing. This sheer range of achievement presents a demanding challenge to any artist trying to do full justice to all of it.

Andsnes’s interpretations have a no-nonsense consistency that admirably avoids tendentious point-making; and there’s an attractive feeling of ego-free comradeship with his fellow artists in the concerto and chamber performances alike, as also in Christiane Karg’s beautifully sung ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te?’

What doesn’t get conveyed so readily is the sense of near-supernatural creative freedom that makes Mozart’s music so special. This quality is unmistakable when it’s there. Andsnes’s playing of the D major Rondo sparkles as required; the B flat Piano Trio is graced with scintillating contributions from all three of its performers; and the tumultuous sweep of Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor is delivered with power and verve. But the feeling doesn’t quite come across that the E flat Piano Quartet, for instance, is also one of Mozart’s most fabulously inventive masterworks. And the on-off emphasis on non vibrato period-style string tone doesn’t intersect convincingly enough with the sound of Andsnes’s choice of modern concert grand.

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Malcolm Hayes