LABELS: Zig Zag
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart: Concertos
WORKS: Concerto for Two Pianos, K365; Concerto for Flute & Harp; Horn Concerto in E flat, K447 and Symphony No. 29, K201; Violin Concerto No. 2; Violin Concerto No. 3
PERFORMER: Frank Theuns (flute), Marjan de Haer (harp), Ulrich Hübner (horn), Yoko Kaneko (piano); Anima Eterna/Jos van Immerseel (piano) and Symphony No. 29, K201; Violin Concertos Nos 2 & 3
CATALOGUE NO: ZZT 060201 and ZZT 051001
The finest work here is the sparkling Concerto for Two Pianos, K365. Jos van Immerseel presents a version with added clarinets, trumpets and timpani, whose parts might be authentic (Mozart possibly provided them for a performance he gave with his pupil Josepha Auernhammer in Vienna, 1781). The clarinets certainly add a tinge of darkness to the moments where the music turns to the minor, but the thickness of the orchestration is otherwise stylistically at odds with the music’s generally light character. Even so, Jos van Immerseel and Joko Taneko, using copies of pianos by Anton Walter (one of whose instruments Mozart himself owned), give a dazzling performance and they are sympathetically accompanied by Anima Eterna.
Clarinets also lend their mellowness to the Horn Concerto, K447, which unusually does without the brighter sound of oboes altogether. The second theme of its opening movement begins with a phrase identical to the start of a prominent melody in the famous C major Piano Concerto, K467, and Ulrich Hübner wittily incorporates the entire tune from that Concerto into his cadenza. For this recording he has managed to get hold of an appropriately dark-toned Viennese instrument, which he plays with admirable skill. The Concerto for Flute and Harp is hardly among Mozart’s most compelling pieces, but the delicate, silvery sound of an 18th-century Erard harp as played by Marjan de Haer makes you appreciate the skill with which the transparent orchestral tapestry is woven.
Rather more of a mixed blessing is the disc containing two of Mozart’s violin concertos. Midori Seiler’s playing is stylish, if a little self-effacing (the Andante of the D major, K211, in particular, could do with a little more unashamed lyricism), but the orchestral contribution is rather straight-laced. That’s even more true of the genial Symphony No. 29, which needs a good deal more charm than Immerseel’s unyielding, and sometimes rather aggressive approach conveys. Misha Donat