Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 9 & 24 / Vogt, Chamber Orchestra of Paris

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The early death of award-winning pianist and conductor Lars Vogt on September 5, 2022 shocked profoundly the international music world. Some 16 months earlier, already aware of his diagnosis and in the middle of his treatment sessions, the artist had an urgent desire to record a Mozart piano concerto album together with the Orchestre de chambre de Paris. He believed that performing these fantastic works that he so much admired would also be the best medicine for his condition. For this Mozart album Lars Vogt coupled two concertos: the early, exuberant Piano Concerto No. 9, nicknamed ‘Jeunehomme’ and written by Mozart in his early 20s; together with the melancholic and nostalgic Piano Concerto No. 24, which is considered by many to be Mozart’s greatest piano concerto – a perfect closure to Vogt’s final concerto album.

REVIEWS:

The slow movements, deeply felt, inevitably emerge with extra poignancy, but elsewhere Vogt revels in Mozart’s playful wit. The album is a fitting memorial to Vogt’s musicianship, courage and humanity.

-- The Times of London

Vogt was particularly distinguished by his remarkable interpretations of Brahms which earned him numerous laudatory reviews. Former musical director of the Paris Chamber Orchestra, with whom he collaborated for the last time on this disc, he also assumed the role of professor at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik in Hanover. Despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2021, he decided to immerse himself in recording Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 24 with unwavering determination. This is reminiscent of the context in which the Requiem in D minor was written, which, according to some accounts, was composed in anticipation of the Austrian composer's own funeral.

As for Vogt, he unfortunately never had the opportunity to hear the finished disc. From his entrance [in Concerto no. 9], Lars Vogt uses a slightly shy sound, dictated by a delicate restraint, thus creating an intimate atmosphere conducive to the sonic development of the piece. A form of mutual respect between musicians and conductor emerges, at the same time creating a virtuous circle which, through the minutes that pass, gradually contributes to strengthening the emotional depth of the interpretation.

What follows is one of the most painful pages that Mozart has written, the opening of the second movement of this concerto. Tragically reflecting the condition in which Vogt found himself, the first chords in C minor resonate like a death knell, the darkest and most poignant moment of this record. Finally, after a clarification brought by the modulation in E flat major, this concerto closes with a rondo overflowing with hope.

The Piano Concerto No. 24, completed in 1786 in Vienna, is introduced by an orchestral overture lasting more than two minutes which, it should be noted, is performed masterfully by the Paris Chamber Orchestra. Directed by Vogt himself, together they succeed in perfectly capturing the overall dramatic color of this work, thereby creating the most favorable terrain for the musical development of the solo that follows. By breaking through the silence left by the orchestra, Vogt transports us, while reassuring us with his simple and charming playing. The second movement, for its part, does not seem to deviate from the very essence of this disc, namely unequaled finesse.

The soft moments are played like a caress on the keyboard, evoking emotions which unfold with a more than captivating sweetness. Each note seems to be enveloped in a veil of tenderness, creating a significant intimate atmosphere. Finally, this concerto closes with a lively allegretto in apotheosis which brings a final touch of vitality to the whole work. Despite his state of health, Lars Vogt leaves us with this record a testimony of perseverance and unwavering optimism. He succeeds with flying colors in captivating us in the space of an hour while ultimately retracing a life journey. A touching album to discover this September.

-- Crescendo



Product Description:


  • Release Date: September 15, 2023


  • Catalog Number: ODE 1414-2


  • UPC: 0761195141427


  • Label: Ondine


  • Period: Classical


  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestre de Chambre de Paris


  • Performer: Lars Vogt



Works:


  1. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in E-Flat Major, K. 271, "Jeunehomme"

    Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Ensemble: Paris Chamber Orchestra

    Performer: Lars Vogt (Piano)

    Conductor: Lars Vogt


  2. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C Minor, K. 491

    Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Ensemble: Paris Chamber Orchestra

    Performer: Lars Vogt (Piano)

    Conductor: Lars Vogt