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This double album is the fifth in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s ongoing cycle of Mozart piano concertos. It is complemented by outstanding notes which tell us that ‘the contribution made by Mozart to human joy is inestimably large’.

The composer’s first official piano concerto, given with the original rather than revised finale, provides ample evidence of a young genius rather than a precocious talent. Bavouzet’s agility and charm are underlined in his own cadenza for the finale, a brief but twinkling concoction full of volleys of repeated notes that would have startled but surely delighted Mozart. No 6 is already an advance in subtlety and sophistication on No 5 with its elegantly tripping finale. But it is with No 9 that you confront the first of the great concertos. Here, the soloist’s early entry and the sombre expressive beauty of the central Andantino (a prophecy of Beethoven’s ‘C minor life’) are surprises indeed, only to find such sobriety banished in a finale of irresistible joi de vivre.

Bavouzet’s performances are given with ‘beaded bubbles winking at the brim’ – Keats’ wonderfully apt metaphor – and he is ideally partnered by Takács-Nagy. The concertos are complemented by five overtures, again showing that conductor and orchestra were born for Mozart. Chandos’ sound and presentation are superb. Even with competition from the likes of Brendel and Perahia, this is an enviable series.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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