ALBUM TITLE: Mozart: Piano Concertos
WORKS: Piano Concertos: No. 17 in G, K453; No. 21 in C, K467
PERFORMER: Maurizio Pollini (piano); Wiener Philharmoniker/Maurizio Pollini
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5795
Taken from concerts in 2005, these are heralded as Maurizio Pollini’s rst conductorless recordings of Mozart with the VPO – not quite true: three other concertos have appeared on Andante. Pollini is sometimes thought to be a cold fish, and this new release doesn’t always contradict that view. His phrasing is glittering in the first movement of the G major K453, but there’s not much love there, and the orchestra isn’t kept on a tight rein. Some of the tuttis are sloppy in ensemble and unbalanced in texture, and, in the opening of the slow movement, rather lacking in dynamic shaping. There’s more life in the finale, especially in the closing Presto, though there’s still some untidiness and inconsistency of tempo earlier on.
In the C major K467 Pollini makes the most of the maestoso marking in the first movement, and it certainly is stately and dignified. But he does find some flexibility in the phrasing, and even more in the famous Elvira Madigan melody in the Andante, where the recording also allows us to hear his grunts and groans all too clearly. Again, the finale is the most successful movement, with crystal clear fingerwork and a sense of direction all round, helped by the no-nonsense cadenza by Sciarrino. Martin Cotton