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Concertos for Two and Three Pianos

Concertos for Two and Three Pianos
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • Concerto in E flat major for two pianos KV 365 (316a)
  1. Allegro 9'48
  2. Andante 6'29
  3. Rondeau. Allegro 6'45
    • Concerto in F major for three pianos KV 242
  4. Allegro 8'19
  5. Adagio 6'55
  6. Rondeau. Tempo di Menuetto 5'24
    • Concerto in E flat major for two pianos (clarinets, trumpets and timpani) KV 365 (316a)
  7. Allegro 10'17
  8. Andante 6'35
  9. Rondeau. Allegro 6'44

There is only a limited number of works for two or more solo instruments with orchestra. One reason may be that the concerto genre in the 19th century became the stomping ground of the great virtuosi of the day, and the works themselves vehicles for the great and unique talent of one, special performer – not two, or three.

Mozart, however, was evidently attracted by the sinfonia concertante genre and created some of the finest examples of it, such as the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola and the Concerto for Flute and Harp, as well as his two concertos for more than one piano. The ‘Lodron Concerto’ for three pianos was composed in 1776 for Countess Lodron and her daughters.

It is Mozart’s third piano concerto and the young man’s irrepressible sense of fun is obvious: in his liner notes conductor and pianist Manfred Huss calls the concerto ‘a true musical joke, in which the musical line is divided between the three players quite arbitrarily; one piano continues what another has started and the third will conclude. The listener hardly notices the humour, however, as the music sounds quite “normal”, and only the pianists know (and the score shows) what Mozart is up to.’

When the composer three years later returns to the task of writing for more than one piano, the result is quite different. The Concerto in E flat major KV 365, composed for Mozart himself and his sister Nannerl, is according to Huss ‘in many respects Mozart’s first ‘big’ piano concerto. It is the first in which we find the very characteristic intertwining of the woodwind and the piano part, accomplished very effectively and virtuosically.’

Mozart seems to have been fond of the work, so fond that for a later performance he added clarinets, trumpets and timpani to the orchestra.

Both versions of the score are found on the present recording, played by Alexei Lubimov and Ronald Brautigam, two of today’s finest performers on the fortepiano. The two versions frame the triple concerto, in which Lubimov and Brautigam are joined by Manfred Huss, artistic director of the eminent Haydn Sinfonietta Wien, who here make their first appearance on BIS.

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Performance ***** Sonics *****

"This disc is almost self-recommending. Three of the best forte piano specialists, a spirited period instrument orchestra, and the stars of the show, three superb modern copies of pianos from Mozart’s day by Walther and Schantz. And of course, Mozart himself. [...] The Haydn Sinfonietta Wien are more than willing partcipants in this exuberant approach. Their impeccable ensemble provides rhythmic fire ad precision or sweetness and tenderness as required. [...] Lubimov, Huss and Brautigam show off their own virtuosic talents with glittering roulades, vying with one another exactly as Mozart and his own fellow soloists must have done, and this exciting but friendly competition in sheer musicianship is a joy to hear."
November 2007

Music Web International

"This is a truly lovely recording with original instruments, beautifully played, with devotion and care. It is also possibly the closest you will ever get to how it would have sounded, performed by the composer himself [...] Lubimov and Brautigam, excel and deliver the piece perfectly, with rhythmic drive and equal elegance both in the lyrical graceful passages and in the exuberant return to the main rondo theme. They left me enchanted, wishing that I could have been present to participate in such musical joy. [...] The sound of the fortepianos and the orchestra is gloriously pure and clear throughout, giving the concertos a fresh, crystalline quality and purity of tone that I have seldom heard [...] In short, this CD is a delight from begin to end. "
Margarida Mota-Bull