Mozart: Piano concerto 23 (Deutsche Grammophon)

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La Scena Musicale's Discovery Box
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To end the year, up pops a Mozart with five stars written all over it.

As a matter of course, I do not listen to new Mozart piano releases. There is such an abundance of unsurpassed recordings on my shelves – Ashkenazy, Brendel, Gilels, Haskil, Kempff, Richter – who could ask for anything more? But I slipped on this latest offering as an early-morning tune-up and, before I knew it, I was I heaven.

I am sure the good folk at DG had a go at Seong-Jin Cho not to risk Mozart at this stage, but the Chopin competition winner clearly knows his own mind and, by the evidence of this disc, it is a supple and original mind. His entry in the K466 concerto has a touch that calls to mind something of the young Schiff or Kocsis, at once questing and certain, firm yet malleable. He can hold a musical conversation, this young man, constantly challenging the listener to rethink. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe do their best to stay in the frame.

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The solo sonatas, K281 and K332, are even more impressive. Seong-Jin Cho dodges Mozart’s bullets of cutesiness, giving an almost austere reading of these salon pieces, a Sunday-morning sermon for serious adults who listen more for uplift than pleasure. We’ll hear a lot more of this Korean comet in the years to come.

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About Author

Norman Lebrecht is a prolific writer on music and cultural affairs. His blog, Slipped Disc, is one of the most popular sites for cultural news. He presents The Lebrecht Interview on BBC Radio 3 and is a contributor to several publications, including the Wall Street Journal and The Standpoint. Visit every Friday for his weekly CD review // Norman Lebrecht est un rédacteur prolifique couvrant les événements musicaux et Slipped Disc, est un des plus populaires sites de nouvelles culturelles. Il anime The Lebrecht Interview sur la BBC Radio 3 et collabore à plusieurs publications, dont The Wall Street Journal et The Standpoint. Vous pouvez lire ses critiques de disques chaque vendredi.

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  1. Pingback: Slipped Disc | A five-star review to end the year

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