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This second volume in Francesco Piemontesi’s survey of the Mozart piano concertos presents a benign and sensitive programme, neatly played but altogether too safe.

The programme opens with K459, a bright and breezy work inhabiting the charming world of Mozart’s happier operas. Beautifully executed, the intonation and ensemble are flawless. It shimmers along with nary a hair out of place – and there’s the rub: it never seems to break sweat. The first two movements are very polite, while the rollicking Allegro assai finale fails to take flight.

The Rondo K386 passes off well enough, if a touch sedately, but K595 receives a curiously uninvolving account. Everything is too deliberate and lacking in spontaneity, at times almost laboured. Are the tempi too relaxed? Has the drive for beauty of tone sacrificed all other considerations? There are flashes of brilliance, to be sure, and some delicious orchestral playing, but I would happily trade a little refinement for more fire in the belly, especially in the finale.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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