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Mozart: Piano Concertos K 453 & 482 / Bezuidenhout, Mullejans

Mozart / Bezuidenhout / Mullejans
Release Date: 11/13/2012 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902147   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Kristian Bezuidenhout
Conductor:  Petra Müllejans
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MOZART Piano Concertos: No. 17, K 453 ; No. 22, K 482 . Rondo in A, K 386 Kristian Bezuidenhout (fp); Petra Müllejans, cond; Freiburg Baroque O HARMONIA MUNDI 902082 (72:41)

A generation after Malcolm Bilson and Christopher Hogwood’s pioneering Mozart concerto recordings using fortepiano and period instruments, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Petra Read more Müllejeans, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra represent the current, polished state of the art in period-instrument performance. Bezuidenhout’s playing—he plays a Paul McNulty copy of a 1780s Walter instrument—is a little freer and more entertaining than Bilson’s, closer to Robert Levin’s approach. The solo keyboard parts in these concertos, when played with as much detail and vocally informed phrasing as they are here, become the equivalent of the cast of characters in a Mozart opera.

In a useful program note, Bezuidenhout—who, incidentally, studied with Bilson—describes the “theater in the round” setup used for this recording. The keyboard was placed in a central position with the winds in a line facing the solo instrument, and the strings surrounding the winds and keyboard. It’s hard to know whether a live performance, unaided by microphones, would work nearly as well, but as a recording, this is a triumph of clarity, with ideal balance between soloist and orchestra.

As in René Jacobs’s recordings of the Mozart operas, the leanness of the ensemble means that no instrumental line is taken for granted. In a few delicate passages, such as the C Major variation in K 482’s slow movement, the strings play one-on-a part. The instrumentalists, not only the soloist, add ornamentation to their parts, with the all-important winds taking on maximum individual personality.

The Concerto No. 17 in G, with its expansive, tender slow movement gives the impression of being one of Mozart’s most personal concertos. Its outer movements are taken here at sprightly, though not unconventional tempos that suit their Papageno-like wit. The 22nd Concerto makes a more public statement, and despite the small forces employed, this performance achieves real grandeur in the opening movement, and seriousness in the second. The delightful Rondo in A, originally planned to be part of the 12th Concerto, K 414, is a significant bonus. It’s a deeper work than the lighter, often recorded Rondo in D, K 382, and is performed with the same grace and energy as the concertos. This is a stunning disc.

FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Kristian Bezuidenhout (Piano)
Conductor:  Petra Müllejans
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Concerto for Piano no 17 in G major, K 453 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Kristian Bezuidenhout (Piano)
Conductor:  Petra Müllejans
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superb recording of fine performances!  May 12, 2013 By Gail M. (Goleta, CA) See All My Reviews "These are period-instrument, chamber style performances of two of Mozart's livliest concertos. I had never heard these musicians perform before, but all is spirited , precise and idiomatic. The unusual positioning of the players together with great care of everyone in the recording process give us a disk to enjoy over and over for a long time. This is a great example of how period instrument playing and recording should be done!" Report Abuse
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