Mozart • Schumann

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COMPOSERS: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Robert Schumann
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart • Schumann
WORKS: Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor; Mozart: Piano Concerto no. 9 in F flat
PERFORMER: Sophie Pacini (piano); Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Radoslaw Szulc


An unusual and pleasing pairing of concertos, this: the two works balance each other well. They present a smattering of structural mirrors, such as the piano’s early interjections at the beginning of each; and the melding of second movement into finale in the Schumann is perhaps offset by the minuet episode in the Mozart’s last movement. Both are fresh, youthful and passionate, demanding in terms of ensemble, not to mention the necessary grip on emotional, technical, aesthetic and philosophical matters.

Making the CD was a prize awarded by the Prix Groupe Edmond de Rothschild of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad to Sophie Pacini, a 20-year old pianist from Munich, who has also participated in the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. This debut reveals a sympathetic tone and an independent spirit which particularly suit the Schumann. Tempos are well-judged, with room for Pacini to explore the work’s lyrical meditations. Certain issues between pianist and orchestra could have worked better, though – notably the opening, which is even more abrupt than usual. The Mozart is not quite as successful; for instance, the final movement’s brilliant figurations need more shape and less scuttle. But Pacini is promising indeed, and one to watch for the future.


Jessica Duchen