Pasa Tem­pos

Mozart and Cle­menti Pi­ano Con­cer­tos (Hype­r­ion)

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

Howard Shel­ley’s Mozart and Cle­menti: Pi­ano Con­cer­tos and Di­nosaur Jr.’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

Born four months be­fore his il­lus­tri­ous fa­ther died, Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844) felt pres­sured to ex­cel as a mu­si­cian. His mother al­ways called him Wolf­gang, and, af­ter study­ing with such lu­mi­nar­ies as Salieri and Hum­mel, he toured for a while un­der the name W.A. Mozart Jr. Per­haps it was un­wise for him to in­vite com­par­isons in this way, and yet be­ing his fa­ther’s son un­ques­tion­ably opened doors to him. Two cen­turies later, we may ac­knowl­edge that the ap­ple fell some dis­tance from the tree, but it was none­the­less tasty. The Bri­tish pi­anist Howard Shel­ley, an in­de­fati­ga­ble cham­pion of ne­glected scores, of­fers vi­va­cious read­ings of Franz Xaver’s two pi­ano con­cer­tos, warmly abet­ted by the Sin­fonieorch­ester St. Gallen. Both pieces dis­play firm crafts­man­ship, pas­sages of real in­ven­tive­ness, and touches of poignant melan­choly, even if they never ri­val the sub­tle ge­nius of his fa­ther’s con­cer­tos, from which they clearly drew in­spi­ra­tion. What’s more, his oeu­vre shows growth; his Sec­ond Con­certo, from 1818, moves into the post-Clas­si­cal realm, hint­ing that Chopin lies not far ahead. Fill­ing out this CD is the bustling C-ma­jor Con­certo by Mozart’s ri­val pi­anist-com­poser Muzio Cle­menti (17521832), a ge­nial work brim­ming with fluff and fleet-fin­gered fig­u­ra­tion. Shel­ley may re­veal over­looked mas­ter­pieces here, but his win­ning in­ter­pre­ta­tions of these works from “the Mozart cir­cle” are bound to de­light. — James M. Keller

DI­NOSAUR JR. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jag­jaguwar)

Since re­unit­ing in 2005, when the band mem­bers were around age forty, Mas­sachusetts rock band Di­nosaur Jr. has re­leased a se­ries of al­bums that are, in­cred­i­bly, of the same qual­ity as their pi­o­neer­ing out­put from the 1980s and early ’90s, when they were con­sid­ered fore­run­ners to grunge. On their lat­est al­bum, it’s clear that the well of in­spi­ra­tion they dis­cov­ered in the mid-2000s has not yet been tapped out. Front­man and gui­tarist J. Mas­cis coaxes new tones out of his gui­tar to lead “Goin Down” and con­cocts air­tight melodies on songs such as the blis­ter­ing “Tiny.” Ev­ery song fea­tures a strong gui­tar solo, but “Be a Part” stands above the rest by start­ing as a slow-build­ing bal­lad be­fore Mas­cis rips out a nim­ble-fin­gered, Span­ish-in­flu­enced ef­fort. Di­nosaur Jr.’s resur­gence as scene god­fa­thers who’ve still got it re­calls Neil Young’s sim­i­lar mid­dle-age come­back in the late ’80s, and in­deed, Di­nosaur Jr.’s mu­sic of­ten sounds very sim­i­lar to Young’s band Crazy Horse. “Lost All Day” con­jures im­ages of Young and his band­mates hunched in a cir­cle, stomp­ing their feet and bang­ing on their gui­tars un­til the strings break. Di­nosaur Jr.’s mu­sic can feel monochro­matic over the course of a full al­bum, but it’s ripe for an age where peo­ple lis­ten to songs on YouTube or other stream­ing ser­vices — so long as you lis­ten to it loud. — Robert Ker

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