Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Aldo and Yannick double down

Mozart Piano Concerto K. 466; Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2

These two recordings were made during Yannick Nezet-Seguin's tenure as the LPO's Principal Guest Conductor, before Aldo Ciccolini's death in 2015. The Rachmaninov is from 2009, while the Mozart dates from 2011. These are fascinating performances, with one master at the end of a glittering career and the other at the beginning of his. The Rachmaninov is bright and brash and lush, but also tender and lyrical. I don't think a Romantic concerto could be more beautifully played by an orchestra than what we hear from the LPO musicians. They have the measure of this music, and the producers and engineers have come through with marvellous sound from the live recording in Royal Festival Hall. Romantic Rachmaninov is almost a redundant phrase, but Romantic Mozart approaches the oxymoronic in these Historically Informed Performance days. From its portentiously measured beginning to Ciccolini's incautious rubato to Nezet-Seguin's great swells from the strings, this is Mozart according to the Old Rites of the early days of recording. To be sure, the D minor concerto of 1785 points the way to Don Giovanni and the Requiem, and also to Beethoven, whose favourite Mozart concerto it was. My measured response? This Mozart is old fashioned and anachronistic, but within its own sound world, gorgeously played. It's inappropriately beautiful.

This disc will be released on March 2, 2018.

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