Angela Hewett Adds Lightness to Mozart

Angela Hewitt delights with Mozart - but how does she interact with an orchestra?

Composer: Mozart
Repertoire: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 8 and 9
Artist: Orchestra da Camera di Mantova/Angela Hewitt
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Orchestral

Label: Hyperion CD A67840

The Music: Of Mozart’s 27 piano concertos, No.5 is his first entirely original work in the form, far more ambitious than No.6 (an attractive work despite its rather silly finale) and the altogether more lacklustre No.8 (No.7 is the shallow concerto for three pianos). No.9, mistakenly nicknamed ‘Jeunehomme’ – it was written for a talented female pianist named Victoire Jenamy – is altogether superior.

The Performance: Angela Hewitt controls one of the lively Favioli pianos she favours to produce a suitably light, airy touch that compliments those aspects of the works’ character (the first movement of No.6, for example, bubbles along joyously, graced with Hewitt’s own cadenza, though not noted in the annotation). But the interplay between soloist and orchestra is studied, the detail sketchy, compared with Murray Perahia and the English Chamber Orchestra, a partnership where the soloist’s experience of conducting from the keyboard, and help from players of greater finesse and tonal allure, make theirs the benchmark recording.

The Verdict: It is unusual to find these three concertos on the same disc, allowing us to savour Mozart’s growing maturity and expertise. There is much here for Hewitt’s fans to enjoy despite the reservations above.

Want More? Hear the Canadian pianist in five of Bach’s keyboard concertos with the Australian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Tognetti (Hyperion, CD a67308).