Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595; Piano Concerto No. 19 in F, K459

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Nonesuch
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595; Piano Concerto No. 19 in F, K459
PERFORMER: Richard Goode (piano); Orpheus CO
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79608-2
K459 is not, perhaps, among the most familiar of Mozart’s great piano concertos, but it is surely one of the most original. Its finale, in particular, is an almost symphonically conceived piece, and one that shows Mozart’s contrapuntal mastery at its most spectacular. This is, too, Mozart’s only work of its kind to do without a real slow movement: in place of any such piece stands a gentle Allegretto. Richard Goode takes it at a more flowing tempo than one normally hears, and the result is very convincing. He is no slouch in the finale, either, which is treated as a genuine ‘Allegro assai’. It could be argued that a slightly steadier speed allows the orchestral counterpoint to carry greater weight, but this performance is certainly exhilarating.

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Mozart’s last piano concerto, K595, is a much mellower work. It might be described as autumnal, were it not for the fact that Mozart used the theme of its finale again for a song expressing a longing for the return of spring. Goode’s playing is once more admirably intelligent, and the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is as polished as ever – almost too well-drilled, one might say: for a performance with a great musician at the helm, try Britten with Curzon (Decca). Schiff and Végh, coupling the same two concertos as here, are very good, too, with the middle section of K595’s Andante treated as real chamber music, and the tuttis of K459 having just that bit more bite than on this new release. Misha Donat