Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat, K365 (two versions); Concerto for Three Pianos, K242

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat, K365 (two versions); Concerto for Three Pianos, K242
PERFORMER: Ronald Brautigam, Alexei Lubimov (fortepiano); Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: SACD-1618

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Mozart’s Double Concerto K365 is offered on this recording both in its original scoring with oboes and horns, and in a version with added clarinets, trumpets and drums in the outer movements. In his booklet note, Manfred Huss argues that the additional parts may well be authentic, but they’ve always struck me as awkward and inelegant, with the clarinets, in particular, clogging up the texture in a manner that’s rather uncharacteristic of Mozart. When Mozart decided to add clarinets to his G minor Symphony No. 40 he redistributed the original material between the oboes and clarinets throughout, but in the Concerto K365 the additional instruments have been simply grafted onto the score as it stood. Moreover, with the exception of the sumptuously-scored C minor K491, Mozart’s other concertos that feature clarinets invariably omit the oboes.

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Be all that as it may, it’s very much to the credit of this new recording that the two renditions themselves are so different. In the opening Allegro, for example, the grandeur of the trumpet parts leads Huss to adopt a broader tempo; and even the identically-scored slow movement finds Ronald Brautigam and Alexei Lubimov taking a fresh look at questions of rubato and ornamentation. Manfred Huss himself supplies the third piano part for the relatively slight Concerto K242, in another enjoyable account. For a still more sparkling account of the Double Concerto, Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu (who also, however, use the expanded scoring) remain a prime recommendation; and their fine disc also includes Mozart’s indisputably authentic arrangement of K242 for two pianos, instead of three.