A suitably majestic but definite tread informs the first movement of the C-major Piano Concerto, Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields marrying clarity and weight in ideal proportion, graceful yet vibrant. Ingrid Jacoby enters with much style – shapely, secure and clear-cut – in a Classical reading that attractively leans to the Romantic, modulating naturally between the two states, with an amorous and agreeably spacious reading of the ‘Elvira Madigan’ slow movement being especially appealing. In the first movement, Jacoby plays a cadenza by herself and Benjamin Kaplin – thematically related and rather Brahmsian at times – and in the Finale (with a couple of diversionary piano solos along the way) by Dinu Lipatti, which scampers along.
The A-major Concerto is given a revealing time-taken reading, not all sunny smiles in the first movement, although some softer, less-chiselled playing from the soloist would have been welcome – the orchestra shows what can be done in this respect. It’s Mozart’s cadenza this time. With the Adagio one again notices some foursquare, hard-toned and too loud phrasing from Jacoby but the sadness of the music is soon to the fore, and the Finale is resolute if not as sparkling as it can be.
To close, the delectable Concert Rondo (K386), its opening decorated idea perhaps giving Ron Goodwin the cue to write his Miss Marple music for the Margaret Rutherford films. (Just a thought!) This is a wonderful work, with sublime moments, and the performance both charms and touches.
Overall, this is lively music-making, no point needing to be made, if sometimes lacking quieter dynamics and tenderness from the pianist, yet with some old-world charm mixed into the vitality. To add the icing to the cake, the recorded sound is a model of tangibility, naturalness and lucidity.