Bavouzet provides interesting surprises in Mozart Piano Concertos

Mozart: Piano Concertos, Volume 4

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano), Manchester Camerata, Gábor Takács-Nagy (conductor)

We continue to be agreeably surprised by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in this fourth volume of Mozart piano concertos on Chandos. This release combines two of Mozart’s most popular, but contrasting, piano concertos; Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 ‘Elvira Madigan’ and Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 and cleverly interspersed by the overture from Don Giovanni, K527. The programme is held together by the fact that the two concertos were were written within four weeks of each other and the overture shares the same key as the D minor concerto and a sense of Sturm und Drang.

As has been the case in earlier volumes of the cycle Bavouzet is extremely responsive to every nuance from the orchestra and his interchanges with the woodwind section provide a source of great delight. In my view this is one of the finest recent versions of the ‘Elvira Madigan’ concerto and deserves a place in any collection.This is followed by an orchestral interlude in the form of a truly vigorous and energetic rendition of the great overture to Don Giovanni. What prevents this volume from receiving a top rating is the comparatively disappointing performance of the D minor concerto.

Bavouzet is performing on a Yamaha grand and this balances well with the Manchester Camerata under Gábor Takács-Nagy; as can be appreciated from this outstandingly well recorded recital. There is a very interesting, concise article about the pieces, written by the pianist, in the accompanying booklet.

Obviously collectors of the series need not hesitate in adding this CD or download to their library. For others this release is worth the purchase price for the recording of the ‘Elvira Madigan’ concerto and the overture alone.

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