Heavenly Mozart

Neal Peres Da Costa, fortepiano;

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra: Rachael Beesley, conductor

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra ARCOCD-002

Mozart is one of the world’s favourite classical composers. His Piano concerto no 23, K488, and Symphony no 41, K551, Jupiter, are two of his most popular compositions, with a dozen interpretations of the concerto and two dozen of the symphony in 2MBS’s collection alone. So why listen to this album? It could be that these two works have lost, through familiarity and being taken out of their historical context, some of their freshness and capacity to surprise. This performance of the concerto, however, sees Neal Peres da Costa playing fortepiano rather than the more usual piano. It is influenced by interpretations, preserved on piano rolls, by 19th century pianists including Carl Reinecke, an authority on Mozart performance. The concerto is notable for the beauty and originality of its orchestration: without oboes, trumpets, and timpani, it gives some prominence to a pair of clarinets and looks forward to the composer’s beloved Clarinet quintet and Clarinet concerto. The symphony, once described as revealing ‘all that music has achieved up to this time, and what it will do nearly a hundred years later’, also benefits from its historically informed performance, with conductor Rachael Beesley suggesting theatrical or operatic influences as a way into the musical narrative. The liner notes by Beesley and Peres Da Costa are exemplary.

—Paul Cooke