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Robert Levin and the AAM complete their Mozart series

Robert Levin and the AAM complete their Mozart series
Robert Levin and the AAM complete their Mozart series
Robert Levin and the AAM complete their Mozart series

Previous instalments of Robert Levin’s Mozart cycle on Classical Explorer include the Concertos for Multiple Instruments, and the penultimate instalment, Concertos Nos. 6-8. And here we are at the 13th and final release in a series that began in 1993 and has spanned 30 years. This disc is released also in celebration of the AAM’s 50th anniversary. As Lewin pus I,

This cycle is a central element both in Christopher Hogwood’s legacy as founder and director of AAM and within my own career. The completion of this cycle represents the successful realisation of a project of outstanding significance.

Amen to that.

The grand, ceremonial Concerto No. 25 receives a performance of great integrity – the second subject retains its contrastive nature without any undue bending of the fundamental pulse. The result is a movement that unfolds naturally. The cadenza is, as usual in this series, improvised by Levin himself:

We did consider one Mozart K 503 before: that on Harmonia Mundi by Kristian Bezuidenhout and the Freiburger Barockorchester, which he performs on a McNulty copy of an 1805 Walter & Sons instrument; Levin’s is a Chris Maene copy of a 1795 Walter, so there is some similarity here. They are both excellent – ideally, own both (couplings are different).

The central Andante is perfectly paced by Levin and his team; it is the interactions between Levin and the orchestra that speak so eloquently here, the result of a rich and deep musical relationship:

The finale is remarkable with Levin: it blazes but bends into profound musings, a veritable tapestry of emotions. It is lovely to hear Levin’s cantabile on the fortepiano, answering and dialoguing with the AAM’s superb woodwinds:

… as a rather nice tie-in to the origins of this series, here’s a performance of No. 25 by Levin with Christopher Hogwood, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra:

We’ve covered soprano Louise Alder in the Chandos Chère Nuit release, Richard Strauss’ Sechs Lieder, Op. 68 with Robin Ticciati on Linn and as Zerlina in the Kasper Holten production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Covent Garden on Blu-ray/DVD. Here, she sings the concert aria K 509, Ch’io mi scrod di te? … Non temer, amato bene, K 505, an aria originally written for Nancy Storace (1765-1817, a singer perhaps best known as the original Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro). The keyboard concertante part is of course taken by Levin. I’m tempted to write “if you thought Alder was good in Strauss, wait until you hear her in Mozart ….”; and adding Levin into the mix makes this pure gold. Exchanges between Alder and Levin are simply beautiful, as are Alder’s decorations of line. The drama, too, is remarkable (listen to how the horns rip in around 6″30):

This concert aria has been particularly associated with pianist Alfred brindle in the past. Here he is for a reminder of a previous era of Mozart performance, with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and the LSO under Szell:

It is eminently fitting that Mozart’s crowning concerto, No. 27 in B flat, K 595, at last concludes this phenomenal project. Levin and the AAM’s performance is vibrantly alive, Levin’s shaping of melody and passagework exemplary. Egarr there with him all the way. The cadenza is utterly unique – there are some unexpected twists and turns there!:

The Larghetto certainly flows, and Levin’s linear ornamentation is beautifully conceived:

Everything seems to set to pure perfection in the finale, Mozart at his wisest and most serene, any scudding clouds from the Larghetto dismissed fully.Throughout, Levin’s melodic elaborations are fascinating – he brings the music vividly to life:

What an achievement this this wonderful set is; and quite right it should be crowned by these two titans of Mozart’s œuvre. The disc is available via Amazon here.

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 27 | Stream on IDAGIO
Listen to Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 27 by Robert Levin, Robert Levin, Richard Egarr, Louise Alder, Academy of Ancient Music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Stream now on IDAGIO
Robert Levin and the AAM complete their Mozart series

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