Misha Donat
BBC Music Magazine
September 2016

You can't help feeling sorry for Franz Xaver Mozart: his Dad was a hard act to follow. Not that he ever knew him—he was just four months old when the great man died—but his efforts to market himself as 'WA Mozart Jr' fell largely on stony ground. The two concertos recorded here are tastefully written, and the opening movement of the E flat work includes excursions into some exotic keys, but they're otherwise rather lacking in memorable ideas. Best are the slow movements—in the C major Concerto, a gently melancholic set of variations in the minor with an affecting major-mode coda; and in the E flat work, an expressive C minor Andante. Richard Wigmore's perceptive booklet notes liken the latter piece to the Andantino from Mozart's Jeunehomme Concerto K271, and we may also think of the slow movement, again in C minor of the Concerto K482. Howard Shelley plays both pieces quite beautifully, investing each phrase with subtly understated expression.

Clementi composed his lone surviving concerto in the mid-1790s, when Mozart Junior was still a babe in arms. Again, it's the slow movement that leaves the deepest impression: as a rhapsodic meditation by the pianist on the orchestra's initial melody. Shelley keeps the fine St Gallen Symphony Orchestra on its toes throughout, and the performances could hardly be bettered.