Piano Concerto in A minor Opus 17 (2) Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Alessio Allegrini plays Mozart well whilst playing up his own social values.
Repertoire: Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4
Artist: Alessio Allegrini, Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
Label: Deutsche Grammophon 4778083
The Music: Fans of Flanders and Swann will be all too familiar with their merciless send-up of the finale of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4, but there’s much else to enjoy, both in this familiar work and in its three earlier siblings. The second concerto is a special delight.
The Performance: The booklet says much about the committed social values and starry career of the soloist, and nothing about the music, the orchestra, or the even more celebrated conductor. For instance, these sparkling works were written for the older natural horn, not for Allegrini’s sophisticated modern-valved instrument: of course there’s a case for his choice, but it would be good to know his thoughts about these things. His sound, while beautifully smooth, is strangely neutral and unvarying – at odds, too, with the crisp, period-influenced style of the excellent orchestra.
The Verdict: The gap here between the promotional gloss and the musical reality is a touch bizarre. The quality of Allegrini’s performances impresses greatly – their tone and manner rather less.
Want More? Richard Strauss’ two horn concertos are performed by members of the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by André Previn, along with Strauss’s gorgeous Oboe Concerto and Duett-concertino (Deutsche Grammophon 453 4832).