Mozart: Piano Quartets – No 1 in G minor, K478; No 2 in E flat major, K493

Reviewed on Fri 21 Sep, 2018

Recorded live, performances are marked by a refined, reciprocal sense of ensemble making clear how comfortable they are in each other’s company.

Father-and-son pianist and violinist Daniel and Michael Barenboim form an elegant partnership with Berlin Staatskapelle principal viola Yulia Deyneka and West Eastern Divan Orchestra cellist Kian Soltani for this effortlessly relaxed coupling of Mozart’s piano quartets. Recorded live, performances are marked by a refined, reciprocal sense of ensemble making clear how comfortable they are in each other’s company. The Second Quartet especially benefits from such lightly articulated intimacy, Barenboim senior leading as much as he is led by his responsive young companions. If its opening substitutes gracefulness for grit, the adroitly poised slow middle movement, hushed and cultivated, is a thing of exquisite beauty, the finale infectiously playful. The First Quartet finds the foursome in almost too casual mood, the Allegro polite and still rather than robust and animated. What follows takes its cue from Barenboim père spinning out a lilting, lyrical line of gossamer delicacy in the Andante, buoyant cascades of notes in the concluding Rondo.
–Michael Quinn