Harmonia Mundi: Classical Express

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi

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Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra are stylish in the Water Music on Classical Express (HCX 3957010), where tempi are fast and textures light.

When they’re joined by Melvyn Tan on fortepiano for MOZART’s K456 and K459 piano concertos (HCX 3957138), I find the result a little too bouncy and perfunctory, and the actual sound of Tan’s instrument on the dry side.

A better period piano is used by the Mozartean Players in SCHUBERT’s E flat Piano Trio (HCX 3957095), and, as well as containing a sensitive, well-paced performance, the disc adds the original version of the finale as a bonus.

The same piano and pianist (Steven Lubin) turn up with Lowell Greer in horn sonatas by BEETHOVEN and KRUFFT (HCX 3957037), but the star turn on this disc is the BRAHMS Horn Trio, where the sound of the composer’s intended valveless horn gives the work a more veiled, less heroic tone than usual.

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Finally, and most deliciously from this batch, several of the piano pieces that ROSSINI wrote as ‘Sins of Old Age’, together with Liszt’s transcription of the William Tell Overture (HCX 3957102), all impeccably dished up by Frederic Chiu.