Beethoven • Mozart
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 (cadenza Harbison); Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat, K449; Fantasia in C minor;
Harbison: Anniversary Waltz
David Deveau (piano); Jessica Bodner (viola), Thomas van Dyck (double bass), Borromeo String Quartet Steinway & Sons 30099 65:09 mins
The four small, perfectly formed piano concertos Mozart composed between K413 and K449 are perennial delights. In their chamber versions, the players’ conversational exchanges and the blend of their timbres achieve a special, intimate atmosphere: the E flat Concerto K449 with its expressive slow movement fares particularly well. Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto, though, offers a different concept of soloist-orchestra interaction. Despite the clarity of texture here, the work feels diminished without its orchestral sonorities, even with viola and double bass added to the quartet ensemble. The cadenza by John ★arbison presents a refreshing take on the material, but I suspect it’s unlikely to become part of any chamber music staple diet.
David Deveau plays with a limpid touch, natural sense of flow and deep feeling. There is plenty of genial ensemble playing, though with some rather acidic intonation among the strings. The two short piano solos that complete the disc are welcome rarities: the ★arbison Anniversary Waltz oozes charm, and the Mozart C minor Fantasia K396 is concentrated, lyrical and beautifully balanced by Deveau. Jessica Duchen PERFORMANCE ★★★ RECORDING ★★★★