Francesco Piemontesi, SCO & Andrew Manze - Mozart: Piano Concertos 19 & 27 - All Music
Francesco Piemontesi's recordings of Mozart, solo and, as here, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, have established him as a young Mozart specialist to watch, and this recording should have plenty of listeners. One attraction is the sound from Edinburgh's venerable Usher Hall. It's spacious and bright, and in the hands of Linn's engineers, it's ideal for the music-making going on here. The airy open fifths of the first movement of the Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major, K. 459, exemplify the strengths of Piemontesi's playing; though he's using a modern piano, there's a lightness and spontaneity that remind one of historical-performance approaches, and he is ably backed up in this respect by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conductor Andrew Manze, who came out of that world. The entire concerto, with its seemingly inexhaustible treatments of the simplest possible material, is quite absorbing. The Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, is a bit less successful. At some points, less might have been more with the ornamentation in a work that is in some sense about sparseness, and the pushed tempo in the drives to the cadences in the first movement are not in the music Mozart wrote. However, there is an X factor that further recommends Piemontesi's readings, having to do with a certain quality of charisma: check this out, and see him if he appears nearby!