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Luiza Borac may have made her name with vivid recordings of piano music by her countrymen, George Enescu and Dinu Lipatti, but she is a musician of wide-ranging sympathies with a flair for the music of the Classical and Early Romantic periods.

Mozart in Love is a lively and intelligently- built programme. As its title suggests, the album is centred around the joint themes of Mozart and love, whether in the affectionate Rondo K511 commemorating the death of a friend, or variations on two decidedly un-PC, racy popular songs. The first lines of Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding translate as ‘A woman is the most glorious thing in the world / Made for men’s enjoyment, for pleasure.’ Mozart’s witty set of variations (1791) are a tour de force and, at over 15 minutes’ duration, a substantial set.

The tune of ‘Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman’ may be well known to the English as ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’, and as a carol in Germany, but the original French lyrics were rather saucy. The tune’s simplicity inspired the younger Mozart to compact variations, full of a charm at odds with their salacious source.

The three Mozart works are played with winning, exquisite charm by Borac but different qualities are required in the three adaptive works, all deriving in varying degrees from Don Giovanni – in which love figures in many different forms. Liszt’s barnstorming Réminiscences de Don Juan (1841, rev to 1869) are the best known and Borac responds with playing of magnificent bravura and finesse. Bizet’s charming Serenade is a straightforward and relatively faithful transcription of ‘Deh! vieni alla finestra’. As on her previous double album, Inspirations and Dreams, Borac finishes with a concertante piece, Chopin’s Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’ Op 2 (1831). Not so well known now, this launched Chopin in Germany and in Borac’s lively and coruscating performance it is not hard to understand why. A delightful programme.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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