Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
1:10 AM 6th April 2024

Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol. 9

Chandos Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol. 9

Overture to ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, KV
384; Piano Concerto No. 11 in F major, KV 413;
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, KV 414; Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, KV 415

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)
Manchester Camerata Gábor Takács-Nagy

Chandos CHAN 20286

A calm hangs in the air for just a few brief seconds as the Manchester Camerata begin the Overture to Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), the strings marvellously setting the scene before a wind whips the orchestra into an iridescent, glittering, and plangent tutti. The panoply of instruments in the percussion, triangle, bass drum, and cymbals transport the listener to Turkey. All departments have fun, there is a lovely oboe solo, and Mozart employs a piccolo in G (an instrument no longer in use today). Gábor Takács-Nagy is in control, evoking rhythmic acuity and dynamics that create an exciting overall performance.

And so, volume 9 in this series of Chandos, Manchester Camerata, and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet Mozart Piano Concertos continues with three concertos that were composed together in 1782/83, shortly after Mozart had left his patron and position in Salzburg to establish himself as a freelance composer and performer in Vienna.

Recorded in the Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester. Bavouzet is using a Yamaha model CFX nine-foot Concert Grand Piano.

Piano Concerto 11 KV 413, as Michael O’Loghlin points out in his notes, differs from the norm in that the first movement is set in three-four time, which is extremely rare in concertos by Mozart. Throughout, the chemistry between Bavouzet and Takács-Nagy’s orchestra creates an attractiveness, and all the movements are played with a warm lambency, with Bavouzet colouring with lovely decoration and virtuosic cadenzas that never detract, a knack that Bavouzet cleverly uses in such a way that his dexterity can seem understated.

Piano Concerto 12 K414 is an ‘unruffled and cheerful mien with which the principal theme of the opening allegro of KV 414 unfolds and illuminates the entire movement, spreading under a cloudless sky,’ as O’Loghlin eloquently writes. The dialogue between soloist and orchestra is endearing; none of the spirit is lost and all the warmth and geniality are observed, not least in the andante second movement, one of Mozart’s typical gorgeous slow movements played with sensitivity. The little rhythmic pauses and runs in the last movement add to the delight.

The disc ends with a pellucid performance of Piano Concerto 13 K415, where once again, all concerned work with Mozart’s score, producing a wonderful and stylish conclusion to the disc.