Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 24 & 17 / Le Sage, Leleux, Gävle Symphony Orchestra

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Mozart’s piano concertos form a set that is not just exceptional but absolutely unique in the history of music: from No. 9 to No. 27,...

Mozart’s piano concertos form a set that is not just exceptional but absolutely unique in the history of music: from No. 9 to No. 27, all are definitive masterpieces. According to H.C. Robbins Landon, an eminent specialist in the composer’s life and work, ‘It is above all their immense stylistic diversity that places Mozart’s piano concertos above and beyond those of his contemporaries’. What these scores also share is their position at a crossroads for strongly impacting influences: that of the symphony, encouraging Mozart to make lavish use of the orchestra; the wind bands of the Imperial court, shaping his enhanced role for the woodwinds; and the influence of the opera, whose styles he worked into these concertos, often treating the dialogue between piano and orchestra as if they were stage characters. In this new recording, Eric Le Sage is joined by the Gävle Symfoniorkester to perform the 17th and 24th concertos for piano and orchestra by the Salzburg composer.

REVIEWS:

For his first recording of Mozart concertos, Éric Le Sage, in the company of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and oboist/conductor François Leleux, programmes two strikingly different concertos, pairing the (mainly) bucolic G major (K453) of 1784 with the C minor (K491) of two years later.

You can tell much about an interpretation from the opening bars of K491. There’s a polish to the legato strings, the wind answering in kind, and Le Sage’s entry is sensitive and beautifully shaped...I very much like Le Sage’s unorthodox choice of Fauré’s cadenza for the first movement, which dutifully bases itself on Mozart’s themes but can’t resist clothing them in entirely Fauréan harmonies.

-- Gramophone

There is no shortage whatsoever of recordings of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453, and Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491, two of the most popular works in the entire piano concerto repertory. However, many fall into two large categories: traditional readings with a large symphony orchestra, and historical performance versions. This one by pianist Eric Le Sage and the Gävle Symfoniorkester defies easy categorization, however, and that's all to the good.

The Gävle orchestra, using traditional instruments, is small (52 players at full strength, perhaps fewer here), and it is wonderfully recorded by the Alpha label in its home hall in Sweden. Its work under guest conductor François Leleux is lively, and the interaction between orchestra and soloist is of the sort that one usually hears when an orchestra is conducted from the keyboard.

The most striking feature is Le Sage's playing, which is incredibly detailed, yet seems to have an unending spontaneity. Sample the finales, where Le Sage seems attuned to every detail of Mozart's overflowing invention, and where the orchestra weaves in and out in what feel like unpredictable ways even for those who have heard these concertos a hundred times. Le Sage uses a good deal of pedal, but these aren't really "Romantic" readings; nor are they influenced much by historical-instrument versions despite the modest dimensions. Perhaps this is French Mozart, despite the Swedish orchestra; in the C minor concerto, Le Sage uses a rarely heard cadenza by Fauré, written for Marguerite Hasselhoff in 1902. Whatever the case, it is an exceptionally careful and satisfying Mozart piano concerto recording.

-- AllMusic



Product Description:


  • Release Date: July 08, 2022


  • UPC: 3760014198663


  • Catalog Number: ALPHA866


  • Label: Alpha Classics


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: Classical


  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  • Conductor: Francois Leleux


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Gävle Symfoniorkester


  • Performer: Eric Le Sage



Works:


  1. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491

    Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Ensemble: Gävle Symfonieorkester

    Performer: Éric Le Sage (Piano)

    Conductor: François Leleux


  2. Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, Op. 9, K. 453

    Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Ensemble: Gävle Symfonieorkester

    Performer: Éric Le Sage (Piano)

    Conductor: François Leleux