WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K467; Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K488; Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595; Symphony No. 40 in G minor
PERFORMER: Keith Jarrett (piano)Stuttgart CO/Dennis Russell Davies
CATALOGUE NO: 449 670-2
With this latest release, Keith Jarrett – sensitively supported by Dennis Russell Davies and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra – offers highly polished readings of three Mozart piano concertos. Despite an occasionally worrying sense of emotional coolness, most notably in the opening movements of the A major and B flat Concertos, Jarrett tempers his unashamedly straightforward interpretations with fluent spontaneity and sparkling technical precision. In the slow movements, for example, he allows his prodigious improvisatory flair to take flight with tasteful extempore ornamentation. Overall, though, I found the C major Concerto most striking. Here, Jarrett and the Stuttgart’s beautifully clear architectural approach gives the opening movement’s stately theatricality increased power, while their Bach-like linear purity in the slow movement heightens its expressive potency. Neat phrasing and witty exchanges between piano and orchestra in the finale bring the work to an aptly vivacious conclusion.
A movingly solemn account of the Masonic Funeral Music and a dramatically effective performance of the G minor Symphony complete the programme. The orchestra plays the symphony’s first movement with persuasive urgency, stylishly contrasts different instrumental colours in the middle movements (though the minuet is a shade heavy-footed) and delights in the finale’s exciting detail. Nicholas Rast