Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Concertos: No. 13 in C; No. 26 in D,
Matthias Kirschnereit (pn); Frank Beermann, cond; Bamberg SO
ARTE NOVA 984940 (59:06)
In addition to his complete Mozart concerto recording collaboration with Frank Beerman and the Bamberg SO begun in 1999, Matthias Kirschnereit’s discography ranges through Busoni, Brahms, Mendelssohn, to Schumann, and Haydn. He has also garnered critical laurels as a Rachmaninoff-player. This recording of the C-Major, K 415, and
“Coronation” concertos, the sixth in Kirschnereit’s series, reveals him as an elegant player and persuasive Mozart interpreter of taste and conviction.
No. 13, written for Vienna in 1783, calls for oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, and timpani in addition to the string band, and this performance conveys all the grandeur and luster suggested by this elaborate scoring. There is a wonderful simplicity and ease to Kirschnereit’s playing, which is always scrupulously observant of Mozart’s articulation. Mozart’s own cadenzas and entrances for this concerto survive; Kirschnereit plays them with all the appropriate improvisational flair, never straying from stylistic bounds. The rondo follows a procedure similar to that used by Mozart in the more famous “Jeunehomme” Concerto, K 271. But, whereas the “Jeunehomme” concerto’s concluding Presto is suspended to introduce a contrasting
minuet, the Allegro of K 415 is twice interrupted by a poignant, searching recitative-like
in C-Minor. The orchestral preparation for this interlude is not easy, nor is the resumption of the prevailing
. But Beermann and Kirschnereit manage the transitions skillfully, without sacrificing the movement’s inherent cohesion and flow.
The “Coronation” Concerto, K 537, dates from 1788 and is considered by some scholars to be a letdown in the wake of its immediate predecessor, the mighty C-Major Concerto, K 503. It is, nevertheless, an enormously engaging work and has always been an audience-favorite, despite some sketchiness in the solo part (it is assumed that Mozart elaborated the solos on the spot when he played the piece for the coronation festivities in Frankfurt). Alas, no cadenzas from Mozart’s hand for this concerto survive, but Kirschnereit plays his own well-crafted interpolations, which I found both engaging and ideally proportionate within their contexts.
This disc presents an unusually strong collaboration between conductor and soloist. The gifted Frank Beermann leads the Bamberg SO expertly and with a good deal of subtlety. But I’m forced to admit that, to my ears at least, the orchestral forces seem a bit elephantine. Can they really be employing a mid-19th-century-sized orchestra in these otherwise stylish performances? Larger orchestras tend to make the textures of the Mozart concertos bottom heavy, due to the heft of five or six (or more?) double basses. Too many upper strings also present problems: Mozart’s frequent dialogues between violins and solo piano tend to lose their conversational parity. There’s no indication of the number of players used here, but it sounds to me like a pretty big band.
That reservation notwithstanding, this is a very fine recording. Balances are good and the sound quality excellent. Krischnereit’s delivery is devoid of affectation and its sheer naturalness is a most appealing feature. On the basis of his exquisite and refined playing alone, this disc is highly recommended. I look forward to hearing other installments of the series.
Listeners interested in comparing other worthy performances of K 415 might enjoy the collaborations of Pires/Guschlbauer (Apex 460448), Levin/Hogwood (Oiseau 444571), or Horszowski/Waldman (Pearl 9138). The Badura-Skoda/Prague CO (Transart 126) and Immerseel/Anima Eterna O (Channel 2691) performances of K 537 are also recommended.
FANFARE: Patrick Rucker
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title