WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat K271; Piano Concero No. 17 in G K453
PERFORMER: Howard Shelley (piano)London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley
CATALOGUE NO: 9068 DDD
Howard Shelley, best known as an interpreter of Rachmaninov, now seems set to provide equally formidable competition for some of world’s starrier pianists in Mozart with an intended complete cycle of the piano concertos.
This second volume couples two of the best of the early concertos. Shelley’s virtuoso skills are apparent in the rapid but clear articulation of the last movements, but there is nothing showy about these performances. He can be touching and poetic in the slow movements, but there is no romanticising of the music.
Like Barenboim and Ashkenazy, Shelley directs the orchestra from the piano. He adopts sensible and flexible tempi, and the London Mozart Players give him admirable support. The recordings are beautifully balanced, with realistic piano sound and a pleasing degree of resonance. Fred Sansom