By the Beautiful Blue Danube Opus 314 Johann Strauss (II) Download 'By the Beautiful Blue Danube Opus 314' on iTunes
4 March 2013, 14:55
Re-discover Mozart's piano concertos with these intimate chamber orchestra recordings. Album of the Week, 4 March 2013.
Combining the intimacy of a string quintet with the power of an orchestral piece, these chamber versions of Mozart's piano concertos were re-scored by the composer so they would be performed in smaller settings, hopefully earning him some money in the process.
Classical business ventures aside, while the tunes are recognisable, the mood is completely different in these pared-down arrangements. Every musical line is clear cut and clean, forcing us to listen afresh to the refined conversation between the string instruments and the crisp piano lines.
While the chamber versions of Mozart's concertos are delicate and charming, the unexpected delight on the album comes in the form of the Ah vous dirai-je, maman variations. The well-known tune (otherwise known as Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star) is given the Mozart treatment, gradually growing from a gentle lullaby to a bubbling piano piece. And even the string quartet version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, a piece so recognisable it can quickly become over-familiar, yields unexpected fruits - it's so intimate, you can even hear the bows moving on the strings, and the players moving and breathing together.
A must-listen for even the most avid of Mozart fans, who are bound to be surprised by the reinvention of these well-known pieces.