Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol. 3 - K. 450 & 451; Quintet K. 452 / Bavouzet

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This third volume in the series from the electrifying combination of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Manchester Camerata under Gabor Takacs-Nagy explores the final two of the...

This third volume in the series from the electrifying combination of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Manchester Camerata under Gabor Takacs-Nagy explores the final two of the six piano concertos of the year 1784, on which Mozart staked his reputation as both a performer and composer. Alongside these works features the pioneering Quintet for Piano and Winds, also from 1784, the first written for this combination of instruments and a work which Mozart regarded as his finest to date. The consecutive Kochel numbers of the three piano works hint at a remarkable story: not only were they all written in the same extraordinarily productive year, but all were completed in the same month, March, when Mozart was just twenty-eight years old. The two concertos form a pair, and in letters to his father Mozart makes it clear that he wrote them for his own performance: “Nobody but I owns these new concertos in B flat and D,” adding in another letter, two weeks later, “I consider them both to be concertos which make one sweat.” Heard in this context, Bavouzet’s playing is all the more astonishing.


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has joined forces with Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Manchester Camerata to record the complete Mozart piano concertos. This is the third volume in the series. Bavouzet has won awards for his recordings of Haydn, Debussy, Prokofiev and Grieg. This recording shows that he is also a born Mozartian.

The three works on this recording all date from 1784 when Mozart was newly married and beginning to forge a freelance career for himself. The Piano Concerto in D Major K451 uses trumpets with timpani and has a distinctive military character. Takács-Nagy’s tempo is spot on in the opening movement marked Allegro assai. He and the Manchester Camerata open the movement with vibrancy and dynamism, and bring an infectious enthusiasm to Mozart’s springy dotted rhythms. Bavouzet’s phrasing and passagework are a model of classical decorum, and he uses subtle rubato to superb effect. There is excellent interplay between piano and orchestra, with phrases passing seamlessly between the players. The music is beautifully characterised. The militaristic opening theme gives way to the camp, whimsical second subject. The Manchester Camerata’s woodwind section are enchanting at the start of the slow movement. Bavouzet brings charm and restraint to the movement before giving us a moment of heart-stopping poetry in the interlude before the return of the opening them. The finale has enormous fizz and sparkle. There is tight, spirited interplay between soloist and orchestra. Bavouzet brings enormous energy to the increasingly elaborate passagework. It is impossible not to be swept along with the joys of music-making.

This is an outstanding recording and is worthy to sit alongside the great Mozart concerto recordings such as those by Perahia and Uchida.

-- MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Release Date: November 16, 2018

  • UPC: 095115203521

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 20035

  • Label: Chandos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Classical

  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Conductor: Gábor Takács-Nagy

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Manchester Camerata

  • Performer: Fiona Cross, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Naomi Atherton, Rachael Clegg