Mozart: Piano Concertos: No. 24 in C minor (cadenza Godowsky, Hummel); No. 25 in C (cadenza Hummel)

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: APR
WORKS: Piano Concertos: No. 24 in C minor (cadenza Godowsky, Hummel); No. 25 in C (cadenza Hummel)
PERFORMER: Valerie Tryon (piano); London SO/Robert Trory
CATALOGUE NO: APR 5640

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The immediate interest in this new recording of two of Mozart’s piano concertos lies in the featured cadenzas. In the C minor K491, we are even offered separate tracks with a choice of either the first movement cadenza from Leopold Godowsky (a world premiere recording as it happens) or one composed by Mozart’s pupil Hummel.

In reality both cadenzas work equally well in their very different ways, though as one might expect, the Godowsky is the more ingenious with some marvellously intricate passage work that although stylistically far removed from Mozart is nonetheless bound to delight all aficionados of Romantic virtuoso piano writing.

Valerie Tryon is a seasoned performer of Rachmaninov and Liszt, so one is hardly surprised that she relishes the wonderfully pianistic sonorities of the Godowsky, playing it with a tremendous sweep. But she is also extremely impressive in the concertos themselves, offering playing of great delicacy and subtlety and moulding the operatically charged melodic lines with considerable affection.

Even in the more stormy passages of the C minor Concerto, such as in the middle section of the first movement and the third variation of the allegretto Finale, Tryon steadfastly resists any temptation to over-dramatise the musical argument. Yet there is no lack of sentiment in her interpretation, and the slow movement in particular is delivered with great tenderness and musical sensitivity.

The playing in Mozart’s majestic C major Concerto K503 is if anything even finer, culminating in a particularly joyous account of the Allegretto Finale. Although some may find the orchestral tuttis a little more full-blooded than is perhaps the norm with recordings of this repertory, the approach here never sounds stylistically anachronistic, and there is some delightful interplay between the piano and London Symphony Orchestra’s woodwind in the first movement.

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Crystal-clear recording balance is almost ideal with the piano beautifully embedded into the orchestral texture rather than dominating it. Erik Levi