Mozart at his most mature

These stunning Mozart piano concertos are captured live and direct.

Composer: Mozart
Repertoire: Piano Concertos Nos. 19 & 23, Ch’io Mi Scordi di Te?
Artist: Hélène Grimaud, Mojca Erdmann, Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral/Vocal

Label: Deutsche Grammophon 4779455

The Music: Two mature Mozart piano concertos, here recorded live: No.19 with its exciting, fugal last movement and No.23 with its serene Adagio, one of Mozart’s most intensely felt. Ch’io Mi Scordi di Te? is a 1786 ‘insert’ aria for Idomeneo – a dramatic showpiece with piano obbligato. 

The Performance: Grimaud’s playing is full of carefully graded subtleties: it’s evident she has thought deeply about each gesture, yet the resulting performance sounds fresh and spontaneous. This is particularly evident in the last movement of No.19, although sometimes the brilliance leads to brittleness. There are heart-stopping moments where time seems suspended in the Adagio of No.23, but overall it could be more poetic. The concert aria is less exciting – Erdmann has a lovely, supple, warm soprano but she could do with more steel in the voice for this dramatic music. The conductorless chamber orchestra is impressive.

The Verdict: Grimaud takes great care to de-sentimentalise the music and make it, in her own words, ‘weightless’: she succeeds admirably but, conversely, sometimes requires a less controlled approach.