Mozart: Piano Concertos K107s, K175, K 336. © 2023 Academy of Ancient Music


Warmth and Charm

Robert Levin plays Mozart concertos, recommended unreservedly by GERALD FENECH

'These are simple and uncomplicated but wholly alluring Mozartian bonbons.'


This exciting tenth volume of the Academy of Ancient Music's celebrated project to record Mozart's complete works for keyboard and orchestra is, perhaps, one of the most insightful issues in this series, if only for the reason that it focuses on the very first keyboard music that Mozart wrote in his short but eventful career.

The three piano concertos, K 107, are a trio of works based on sonatas by J S Bach, Op 5. The boy composer turned Sonatas No 2 in D, No 3 in G and No 4 in E flat from Bach's set into his three concertos we find on this disc.

Listen — Mozart: Allegro (Piano Concerto in D, K 107 No 1)
(AAM042 track 5, 0:30-1:27) ℗ 2023 Academy of Ancient Music :

These concertos remained unpublished in the Alte Mozart-Ausgabe, the first complete edition of Mozart's works, so they were not given a number by the publishers of that edition, Breitkopf & Härtel, unlike the other twenty-seven concerti in that publication. Therefore, when these works are enumerated with the rest, it can be seen that Mozart composed thirty keyboard concerti. These three works, however, and the concerti numbered as Nos 1 and 4 are actually not original compositions but arrangements of works by other composers.

The Piano Concerto No 5 in D, K 175, was composed in 1773, when Mozart was just seventeen. It is the first original work in the genre because, as cited earlier, all his previous attempts were based on works by other composers. Mozart revised the score in 1782, composing a new rondo and adding a flute to the new instrumentation.

Listen — Mozart: Andante ma un poco adagio (Piano Concerto No 5 in D, K 175)
(AAM042 track 3, 1:10-2:07) ℗ 2023 Academy of Ancient Music :

This tenth volume also includes the Church Sonata No 17 and a concerto movement from the music book of Mozart's sister Nannerl, believed to have been drafted by the composer as a young child.

Listen — Mozart, reconstructed by Levin: Concerto movement in G
from Nannerl's Music Book
(AAM042 track 1, 0:04-1:02) ℗ 2023 Academy of Ancient Music :

Robert Levin and conductors Laurence Cummings and Bojan Čičić present these very attractive pieces in such an appealing way that they are made to sound more like the middle Mozart than the very early one.

The Financial Times critic had this to say about this series:

From the outset, their lively and spontaneous performances promise one of the finest of all recorded cycles.

Indeed, I cannot agree more. The music flows all so sweetly and limpidly, and the warmth and charm of Mozart's juvenile pieces are here written all over each note.

Listen — Mozart: Church Sonata No 17 in C, K 336
(AAM042 track 12, 3:44-4:36) ℗ 2023 Academy of Ancient Music :

These are simple and uncomplicated but wholly alluring Mozartian bonbons. Detailed notes and pristine sound quality add to the enjoyment of this issue, which I recommend unreservedly.

Copyright © 3 January 2024 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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