Francesco Piemontesi, SCO & Andrew Manze - Mozart: Piano Concertos 19 & 27 - The Times

He’s Swiss, swish and utterly sensational ...

Down in the dumps? Need revitalising? I cannot think of better medicine than the new album of Mozart piano concertos from the Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi, an absolute master of the art that conceals art, playing the notes with such easy grace and limpid flow that he almost seems to be improvising.

Yet you don’t have to wait for the piano’s first entry for balm to descend. As Concerto No 19 begins, listen to the lightness and poise of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, acting like a lean and bouncy period instrument band under conductor Andrew Manze.

Never once in the sprightly fun of No 19 or the grander, more thoughtful exchanges of Mozart’s 27th and final concerto is there any whiff of topiary clipping or other invasive attack on the music’s natural beauty. Tutored by pianists such as Alfred Brendel and Murray Perahia, the opposite of garish showmen, Piemontesi brings a sense of unforced inevitability to every phrase. The recording’s sound balance, too, is equally natural, with the pianist and the orchestra’s 44 musicians never having to fight for space or stunt the glory of individual instrumental lines. The woodwind decorations, always a delight in Mozart, are particularly ravishing.

The Times
28 August 2020