Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595; Piano Quartet in G minor, K478; Exsultate, jubilate

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: BBC Legends
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595; Piano Quartet in G minor, K478; Exsultate, jubilate
PERFORMER: Sviatoslav Richter (piano), Kenneth Sillito (violin), Cecil Aronowitz (viola), Kenneth Heath (cello), Elly Ameling (soprano); ECO/Benjamin Britten (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCB 8005-2 ADD
The BBC continues to release its wonderful collection of Legends from its Aladdin’s cave of past treasures. Common to these works by Mozart is Benjamin Britten, as eminent and respected a performer as he was a composer. His strengths lay in an immaculate sense of accompaniment (breathing with his singers), of style (particularly in Bach, Mozart and Schubert) and in combining both in his expert pianism in chamber music or playing for such artists as Pears and Rostropovich. Forget period instruments and current fashionably fast speeds, Britten judges Exsultate, jubilate! with unhurried anticipation of the coloratura which concludes the work (almost effortlessly sung by Ameling). The phrasing, tonal balance and sense of ensemble between the players in the Piano Quartet is immaculate, particularly in the rondo; this is chamber music at its best. The mood of the Concerto is sublime. Richter responds to Britten’s undisguised love for the work, to the warmth of the ECO’s string sound and to the detail brought out in the woodwinds (the horns initially uncomfortable). Performances are live (1965-71) with Suffolk applause and coughs; nevertheless these Legends discs are proving irresistible, this view of Britten the Mozartian as compelling as any so far issued. Christopher Fifield

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