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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 9 & 17

Olga Pashchenko (piano); Il Gardellino (Alpha Classics)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
ALPHA726_Mozart

Mozart
Piano Concertos: Nos 9 ‘Jeunehomme’ & 17
Olga Pashchenko (piano); Il Gardellino
Alpha Classics ALPHA726   63:12 mins

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The Jeunehomme Concerto opens with crisp sonorities from both orchestra and fortepiano, fitting well with the brisk tempo. But as the performance goes on, some aspects become mannered, especially the manipulation of the basic pulse, which often causes a momentary loss of direction. Olga Pashchenko’s touch can sometimes be aggressive, and this has an unsettling effect in the Andantino, as does her propensity for a rubato that sits uneasily with the simple beauty of Mozart’s melodic line. The final rondo is the most successful movement, with elegance in the minuet episode, although there’s still a little loss of drive in the otherwise nimble prestosections.

Pashchenko adds some discreet decorations to the opening tutti in the later G major Concerto, where she uses a different instrument, more homogeneous in tone, if sometimes too heavily attacked in the bass. This leaps out at times in the Andante, which is otherwise graced with some lovely wind playing, spinning long lines which the soloist doesn’t always emulate. Her use of the moderator to produce a more veiled sound at key moments is well judged though. Again the finale comes off best, with characterful variations, and some especially striking horn calls in the culminating Presto.

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Martin Cotton