Mozart: Piano Concertos – No 14 in E flat major, K449; No 19 in F major, K459; Divertimento in D major, K136; Divertimento in F major, K138

Reviewed on Mon 06 Nov, 2017

Impeccable indeed is Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s pianism. But therein lies a paradox. He is so facile, there is vein of glibness in the passage work, of varying changes in mood and character glossed over.

Nine-foot concert grand, small band; and disparity is clear. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s initial entry in K449 is loud and forward; and the Manchester Camerata miked to sound bigger than it actually is has a dense texture too. But this isn’t consistent; the piano-orchestra relationship varies throughout both concertos. Yet you will notice how accomplished the orchestra is and how artistically it is conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy. And impeccable indeed is Bavouzet’s pianism. But therein lies a paradox. He is so facile, there is vein of glibness in the passage work, of varying changes in mood and character glossed over, eg the second movement of K459. It is marked Allegretto in 6/8 time but the tempo is too swift for either its rhythmic swing or content to tell. Try Robert Levin (L'Oiseau-Lyre/Decca) for a deeper interpretation of both concertos. The Divertimentos offer a finer experience because here the absence of tinkering with balances and perspectives allows for concentrated listening.
–Nalen Anthoni