Francesco Piemontesi/Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Andrew Manze

Mozart Piano Concertos Nos 19 & 27


THERE is no shortage of the music of Mozart in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s back catalogue of recordings, but this new series from the partnership with Piemontesi and Manze of the composer’s pieces for piano and orchestra is already shaping up to be among their very best.

The obvious attraction here, following the award-winning disc featuring Nos 25 & 26, is the addition of the composer’s final concerto, from the astonishing outpouring of music in Mozart’s final year and among the most sophisticated of his compositions, particularly its opening movement. The B flat major No 27, K595, is exquisitely performed and recorded by orchestra and soloist and by engineer Philip Hobbs in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, but its undeniable quality should not overshadow the strengths of the rest of the album. The F major No 19, K459, first performed by the composer in Vienna in 1785, is a perfect showcase for the balance that Manze achieves between this ensemble and the pianist, with the dialogue between the soloist and the SCO winds is constantly captivating.

In between the two concertos the album has an earlier piece with a fascinating history. The Rondo in A major, K386, was usually heard in a completion that was in part the work of Charles Mackerras until its last few pages were discovered in the British Library in 1980. Piemontesi adds some figures of his own, and his own cadenza, to what is likely to become a reference recording.

Keith Bruce