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Hyperion Records

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Photo of Angela Hewitt by Bernd Eberle.
Track(s) taken from CDA68049
Recording details: July 2013
National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Robert-Eric Gaskell & Chris Johns
Release date: July 2014
Total duration: 32 minutes 41 seconds

'Angela Hewitt continues her Mozart series with Hannu Lintu, switching from her Italian orchestra to the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra, which the conductor melds into a flexible and characterful ensemble. The concertos Nos 22 and 24 are linked by C minor, the key of the outer movements of K491 and the inner one of K482. It was, as Hewitt writes in her lucid and well-researched notes, a key of great tragedy for the composer … this is Mozart characterised by clarity of thought, attention to detail and reactive interplay between soloist and orchestra' (Gramophone) » More

'Replete with all the Angela Hewitt virtues—among them, unfailing clarity, innate elegance, an unerring sense of proportion, a finely honed mastery of style, melodic finesse and an unobtrusive grasp of harmonic rhythm—these are exemplary performances … the prevailing tonal palette, from soloist and orchestra alike, is appropriately lean but always beautifully focused and elegantly applied. Operatic in the best sense, Hewitt is more concerned with dialogue, not only between the two hands but within all levels of the texture, than with conventional notions of 'vocal' cantabile' (BBC Music Magazine) » More

'Lintu and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada prove impressively alert and intuitive partners for Hewitt. Besides festive trumpets and drums, both concertos feature prominent roles for woodwind—each includes clarinets in the line-up—passages which are full of character here. Hewitt brings to bear the nuanced precision and intelligence that have made her Bach recordings so successful, alongsde an appealing Mozartean zest and intimacy often missing from modern-instrument performances' (International Record Review) » More

Piano Concerto No 22 in E flat major, K482
completed (and possibly first performed) on 16 December 1785

Allegro  [13'43]
Andante  [8'01]
Allegro  [10'57]

Other recordings available for download
Edwin Fischer (piano), Unnamed orchestra, John Barbirolli (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Never in his piano concertos was Mozart more generous with his number of themes than in the opening movement of the Piano Concerto No 22 in E flat major, K482. The initial fanfare is commented upon by suspensions in the horns and some jumpy bassoons. The second fanfare is answered with the same music but this time by the clarinets and violins, who announce their presence. Now the stage is set, and Mozart gives us a tutti that is resplendent in its orchestral colour. When the soloist enters, it is with a completely new theme, immediately establishing its independence. Wide leaps in the melodic line, so favoured by Mozart when he wrote for singers, combine with passage-work that must not be merely rattled off. This is certainly one of the most difficult of his concertos to play, but also one in which bravura for its own sake is totally out of place.

Two things deserve special mention in this opening movement: the abrupt change to B flat minor, introduced by rather angry chords in the piano, not long after its initial flourishes; and the, for me, haunting moment in the development section when, after a long passage with tortuous runs, the piano breaks forth with a new melody, breathtakingly beautiful in its serenity, but notable also for its brevity. Its only appearance leads us back masterfully to the recapitulation. One has to be wary of older editions of this piece that leave out two bars (at bar 282), not notated in the autograph but found on an additional page of sketches. I believe they were first published in 1961.

What was it that made the Viennese audience demand a repeat of the second movement when they first heard it? Was it their fondness for variation form (used here for only the second—and final—time in a slow movement of a Mozart piano concerto)? Was it the fact that the wind ensemble figures very prominently throughout? Those things probably didn’t hurt, but I think it was something more profound than that. As in his first masterpiece in the genre, the Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major, K271, Mozart chose the key of C minor to express deep sorrow, if not tragedy. The violins add their mutes, and in so doing sound especially anguished when presenting the opening theme. The piano reiterates their plaintive song, embellishing it not just with notes but also with dramatic pauses that make us catch our breath. The variations alternate between major and minor—the first major one given over to the wind ensemble. Back in the minor, whirling figures in the piano give a sense of hopelessness that we also hear in the C minor Concerto. A lovely duet between flute and bassoon, gently accompanied by the strings, brings some brief respite. The next minor variation opens with an angry orchestra, answered pleadingly by the piano. But what probably did it for that early audience was the coda. Just when all hope seems to have been abandoned, Mozart throws in a dart of sunshine, twice briefly shifting to C major for only one bar. It is a stroke of genius, and it gives me the shivers every time I play this work.

The join into the last movement is also masterful. The finale will be brilliant, yes, but the atmosphere mustn’t be shattered immediately. The piano enters quietly with a pulsating orchestral accompaniment, but with a twinkle in the eye for sure. When the full orchestra takes up the hunting-song theme, we can only smile. Still I feel that even in the piano’s next entry, the sadness of the middle movement hasn’t quite disappeared. Soon, however, things simply get far too busy to be sad. Even Mozart was too busy to write out all the notes. For eleven bars in this movement he only puts in a bare outline, leaving the rest to be filled in by the performer.

Another similarity with the earlier E flat major Concerto, No 9, comes when Mozart interrupts the frolics with a minuet, in this case, an Andantino cantabile. I love what Michael Steinberg writes about this moment: ‘It suggests the Countess from the end of Figaro, drawing from her reservoir of immeasurable grace to forgive her philandering husband.’ Pizzicati from the violins, imitated by the piano, lead to a sorrowful passage that, via a short cadenza, get us back into the movement proper. Everything goes as one might expect until the coda where, in another stroke of genius, the piano comes in with a little tease before letting the orchestra finish.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2014

Other albums featuring this work
'Edwin Fischer – Mozart Piano Concertos' (APR7303)
Edwin Fischer – Mozart Piano Concertos
MP3 £13.99FLAC £13.99ALAC £13.99 APR7303  Download only  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014' (HYP201407)
Hyperion monthly sampler – July 2014
MP3 £0.00FLAC £0.00ALAC £0.00 FREE DOWNLOAD HYP201407  Download-only monthly sampler  

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