As one might have imagined, if Russian super-virtuoso-pianist-turned-conductor Mikhail Pletnev was going to try a couple of Mozart concertos on for size, it makes sense they'd be the D minor and the A major. With the D minor's driven outer movements and the A major's nocturnal central movement, these are two of Mozart's most nearly Romantic concertos. And, as a Russian super-virtuoso pianist, Pletnev naturally had to interpret them in a Romantic manner.
Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer suffered reprisals for her Jewish background, but after the Second World War she enjoyed her international breakthrough with Mozart playing of gentle elegance, supple virtuosity and dramatic power.
Award winning pianist David Fray – named Instrumentalist of the Year in France’s Victoires de la Musique 2010 – retains his focus on Austro-German repertoire with his second CD of concertos for Virgin Classics: Mozart’s Concertos Nos 22 and 25 with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra under Dutch violinist-turned-conductor (and Music Director of the Dallas Symphony), Jaap van Zweden.
Involving, as it does, three master musicians and a fine chamber orchestra this was never likely to be be other than rewarding. It may not correspond with the ways of playing Mozart at the beginning of the twenty-first century which are fashionable at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but it has virtues – such as high intelligence, sympathy, certainty of purpose, grace, alertness of interplay – which transcend questions of performance practice. Looking at the names of the pianists above, we might be surprised by the presence of Sir Georg Solti, so used are we to thinking of him as a conductor. But the young Solti appeared in public as a pianist from the age of twelve and went on to study piano in Budapest, with Dohnányi and Bartok.
Central to Hélène Grimaud's first live album for Deutsche Grammophon is the significance she finds in the slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This movement is a touchstone for her, insofar as she regards it as the most sublime music, "where you find the real Mozart." She has also stated, "Even if this movement were all we had, that would be enough." Because of the emphasis Grimaud places on this poignant Adagio in F sharp minor, listeners may be tempted to cut to the chase and skip the other tracks to hear her interpretation.