Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wolfgang amadeus mozart | piano concertos 20 & 27

when i wrote in an earlier post about how mozart's late symphonies highlighted aspects of the composer which might stand at odds with his myth (especially the rot proffered by the movie Amadeus), i mistakenly extrapolated that due to his alignment with various enlightenment era ideals, emotionality and sensuality would only ever be secondary characteristics of his music. you see, i had not heard these marvelous piano concertos, and it's the D minor concerto, no. 20, in particular that makes a very convincing argument for the abandonment of that conclusion. for it's with this work that mozart anticipated the struggles of his stylistic descendants to express their own messy humanity through their highly formalistic medium. in other words, mozart granted Doubt its viability in fancy people music. and it worked. the value of having to wait for the moment affirmation wasn't lost on audiences of the time. nor was it lost on beethoven, who would play the concerto years later and write his own cadenzas for it, and who would extend the emotional reach of sonata form piano music to the most intimate of concerns — for what is intimacy but the ultimate confrontation between doubt and affirmation? eh? something else entirely? and by the way, if i'm not mistaken, it's beethoven's cadenzas that perahia plays here. the B-flat major concerto which follows on this disc is not quite so radical, but still holds its ground against my earlier stab at supposing mozart's expressive agenda. and it's every bit as much a treat to hear murray perahia tickling the ivories here as on the D minor. his playing is as spotless as it is thoughtful as it is unaffected, and its integration with the english chamber orchestra is utterly seamless. the recording quality on these cbs recordings (which, if anyone's interested, can be purchased either in ultra-cheap single discs or in one big box set) adds a thin layer of gossamer to the performances, and it's actually pretty becoming of the mood of each concerto. so, great shit all around. hear.

No comments:

Post a Comment