Ingrid Jacoby / Academy of St. Martin in the Fields / Sir Neville Marriner MOZART Piano Concertos 17 K453 - 20 K466 - 1 K37

Elegance and energy characterise this account of K453, Ingrid Jacoby especially attractive to listen to in her fluid and dynamic playing, crispy phrased and also affectionate without losing the Concerto’s bigger picture, and most attentively accompanied by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner. Separating such lively music-making (the playful and ultimately witty Finale brings a smile), the soulful slow movement is particularly eloquent with some very expressive contributions from woodwind soloists, and Jacoby digs deep into the music’s potential.
The minor-key K466 is given a spacious and somewhat severe reading, emotionally intense too, which works well in creating a darkly dramatic atmosphere and, in purely musical terms, there are numerous examples of well-observed integration between pianist and orchestra: one senses that Marriner is being artless to both parties. The romance of the slow movement is nicely phrased, a yearning quality evinced, and the stormy middle section raises the ante. The Finale, returning to the mood of the opening movement, if faster, is tensely driven.
K37 is the work of a composer not yet in his teens, and like its three Piano Concerto successors (K39-41) Mozart makes use of others’ instrumental Sonatas. It’s a really attractive piece, the first movement (after Hermann Friedrich Raupach) leaps exuberantly off the page with a brilliance worthy of Domenico Scarlatti. Following which the richly communicative slow movement seems to be entirely a Mozartean original, while the dashing Finale is in debt to Leontzi Honauer. Very early Mozart, yes, but K37 as performed here is well-worth discovering.
Cadenzas: in No.17 Jacoby plays Mozart’s and does so stylishly; in No.20, rather than employ Beethoven’s, which are often chosen, she includes her own based on those by Paul Badura-Skoda; and in No.1 Lili Kraus is the author.
This altogether-excellent release is complemented by first-rate recorded sound engineered by Tony Faulkner, notable for exemplary balance, tonal fidelity and a tangibility that takes us to the heart of the music-making.

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