Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - Piano Concerto No.15 & 16
Brautigam, Ronald / Die Kolner Akad
In May 1784, shortly after completing the two piano concertos recorded here, Mozart described them in a letter to his father as 'concertos which are bound to make the player sweat.’ In his correspondence he also pointed out the particular importance of the wind instruments in the two works. This is obvious already in the first movement of the Concerto in D major, K 451, which opens the disc: for long stretches Mozart revels in the soloistic capabilities of the winds and elsewhere he builds up chordal textures in which the winds’ distinctive colours dominate. In a similar manner, the winds take the lead from the very beginning of the B flat major concerto, K 450, with the strings answering. Throughout the movement, the woodwinds are absolutely vital to the narrative and Mozart playfully exploits the diverse colours of the winds, frequently featuring pairs of them playing in octaves: oboe/bassoon, oboe/horn or horn/bassoon. In the Andante the wind instruments are silent from start, but once they enter they again dominate in terms of colours. The delicacy of the piano writing throughout this movement adds to the very special quality of the concerto, in which Mozart seems to point the way towards Beethoven. Previous discs in this series have earned distinctions such as Editor’s Choice (Gramophone), IRR Outstanding (International Record Review), ‘10’ (klassik-heute.de) and Disco excepcional (Scherzo). On their eighth instalment, Ronald Brautigam and Die Kölner Akademie have chosen to close the programme with a Rondo in D major, originally intended as a replacement finale for the Piano Concerto No.5, K 175. Offering a range of different moods and introducing a variety of quasi-operatic characters, the Rondo became greatly popular in Vienna and beyond, and was in fact sometimes published as a stand-alone work.
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