Classical music is full of cycles. The Beethoven Piano Concertos, Symphonies, Piano Concertos and Piano Sonatas are perhaps the most frequently undertaken, but Mahler, Bruckner, Schumann, Brahms and Sibelius Symphony Cycles come round with the rations as do other chamber music cycles and they all contain untold musical riches. But there is one cycle I keep going back to which contains such unbelievable riches that I am stunned every time I unpack it - Mozart's Piano Concertos. He himself was a brilliant pianist, touring Europe as a soloist from the age of 6, and he wrote them as showpieces for his Viennese audience. The scene in Amadeus where the fortepiano is being carried around to the next concert rings true. What is staggering is the variety and musical imagination. They are scored in many different ways ranging from 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings in the early E flat Concerto through to a full wind section in the massive C Minor Concerto. of which Beethoven said to a friend 'Ah, we shall never be able to do anything like that!' And the speed of composition, in one miraculous year he wrote 6. One feels that these pieces give perhaps the deepest insight into Mozart's musical soul with so much yearning and sadness beneath the sparkling surface. Many of you in Perth will remember Maria João Pires (my favourite pianist of all - hence the clips below) playing K453 in G in Perth with the SCO not long ago - definitive and unforgettable music making.
Maria João Pires suddenly has to play a concerto she wasn't expecting with the Concertgebouw and Riccardo Chailly - click here
And the story here
Maria João Pires playes K453 in G major click here
Maria João Pires plays K488 in A major click here