In an age when the majors pump out stars and brands, boutique labels are free to indulge in the cranky, the batty and the frankly off-the-wall. Which self-respecting woke person, for instance, would pay to hear Mozart’s major orchestral works shrunk to fit a Brooklyn or Lewisham bedsit? Mozart reduced to pocket size by his principal rivals Hummel, Cramer and Clementi – do we really need that?
Actually, yes, yes, yes! It is totally thrilling to hear the C-major piano concerto K467 played by piano, flute, violin and cello… like a digital scan of Mozart’s mind working at full speed without bothering to fill in all those useless orchestral lines. Pocket-sized overtures to Magic Flute and Marriage of Figaro I can take or leave, but Clementi’s takedown of the Jupiter Symphony is utterly essential listening, replete with hints of where Mozart might have gone if he’d only lasted a little longer.
The album is the brainchild of scholar-pianist David Owen Norris, who plays a skittish 1826 Broadwood and tries to imagine how Mozart went down in London drawing rooms around that time. Caroline Balding and Andrew Skidmore cover all the string parts and Katy Bircher is a more-than magical flute. Just listen.
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