Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A K488; Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor K491

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A K488; Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor K491
PERFORMER: Alicia de Larrocha (piano) ; English Chamber Orchestra/Colin Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 60989-2 DDD
These are good, old-fashioned Romantic performances with modern instruments. I noticed in the slow movement of the A major, shortly before the end, that Larrocha does not fill in, with arpeggios or whatever, the yawning ‘cue’ notes Mozart writes in his usual shorthand at the beginning and the end of a passage. But she does fill in a similar sketched passage in the first movement of K491, just before the tutti that precedes the cadenza. Her decision not to fill in the passage in K488 must be a personal choice; but I think it is wrong. In K491 the horns obtrude a bit in the tuttis, and some will not like the tubby sound of the timpani. But for those who want their Mozart on modern instruments with the traditional approach (and sound), this is a distinguished 19th-century-sounding CD with a fine pianist. For good period-instrument performances, turn to Bilson/ Gardiner or Gibbons/Brüggen (K491), both coupled differently, and both much more gutsy in that concerto’s opening movement. HC Robbins Landon

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