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11 March 2013, 14:47 | Updated: 14 March 2013, 15:56
A youthful recording of Mozart from pianist Alessio Bax and Southbank Sinfonia. Drive Featured Album, 11 March 2013.
Following on from his acclaimed recording of Brahms piano music, Italian pianist Alessio Bax is tackling two of Mozart's late piano concertos on this new release. Mozart's music is often criticised for being less exciting than his classical counterparts, but Bax and the Southbank Sinfonia bring a new lease of life to these concertos, making the most of the clean lines as well as the cheekier moments hidden within the score.
The result is youthful, beautiful music, peppered with Mozart's trademark tunes. The smiling dialogue between piano and orchestra adds to the sense of fun in the music - listen to the Allegro movement of the Piano Concerto No. 27 to hear a brilliant fusion between the soloist and the orchestral players.
If the concertos can't convert even the most Mozart-phobic of musicians, the neglected set of Variations on Sarti's Como un agnello are certainly deserving of a listen. The piano sparkles in these cheeky musical miniatures, transforming the simplest of tunes into a virtuosic showpiece, delicate lullaby, or weighty dance. The six variations that follow show off the best elements of Mozart's piano writing - and all in under ten minutes. The recognisable tune is taken from his Clarinet Quintet, and slowly transforms a simple hummable snippet of music into an elaborate piano showpiece, expertly executed by Bax's nimble fingers.