Mozart Pitched Well

This reading gets as close to Mozart's original vision as is possible.

Composer: Mozart

Repertoire: Piano Concertos Nos. 24 and 25
Artists: Ronald Brautigam (fp), Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral

Label: BIS-SACD-1894

The Music: Volume 2 of Brautigam’s Mozart piano concertos has No.24, considered by some to be the greatest of the cycle, and its more lightweight successor. He plays a 1992 copy by Paul McNulty after a c.1795 fortepiano by Mozart’s favoured maker Anton Walter. 

The Performance: Brautigam is the most exciting fortepianist around, as anyone who has collected his complete Beethoven and Mozart sonatas will know. Characterised by lively tempos, crisp articulation, taut rhythms and the ability to convey to the listener the joy of music-making, Brautigam’s playing strips away the varnish to let you hear, as near as dammit, what Mozart’s audiences would have heard – with the occasional addition of some passagework (of which the composer would have surely approved) and Brautigam’s own cadenzas. I query only the over-brisk view of the Concerto No.24’s second movement, hardly ‘larghetto’ and more than two and a half minutes quicker than Murray Perahia’s classic recording. 

The Verdict: The perky woodwind and tight ensemble contribute further to this brilliantly performed and recorded disc. Even if you prefer, as I do, your Mozart on a modern concert grand, it’s hard to resist Brautigam’s period advocacy. 

Want More? Volume 1 with the same forces has Concertos Nos. 9 and 12 with the Rondo in A major (BIS-SACD-1794).