Jean-Efflam Bavouzet plays Mozart Piano Concertos – 20/D-minor/K466 & 21/C-major/K467 – with Manchester Camerata & Gábor Takács-Nagy [Chandos]

3 of 5 stars

Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K467
Don Giovanni, K527 – Overture
Piano Concerto No.20 in D-minor, K466

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)

Manchester Camerata
Gábor Takács-Nagy

Recorded 7 & 8 September 2018at The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester, England

Reviewed by: Antony Hodgson

Reviewed: June 2019
Duration: 65 minutes



Jean-Efflam Bavouzet takes a direct approach to Mozart and Gábor Takács-Nagy is an ideal partner in providing a positive orchestral contribution – the woodwinds in particular are very clear and well detailed. It is not usual nowadays to talk of ‘stereo spread’ but here it is notably wide and that attribute applies also to the piano, the tone of which is bright and bold – this enhances the directness of the interpretations

There is also sensitivity in both slow movements. That of K467 is sometimes inappropriately romanticised but Bavouzet gives an ideally cool and lucid reading. There are personal moments however – notably a delay before playing two of the notes in the main theme – this effect also occurs on its later return. Nevertheless this is an exceptionally sympathetic reading of one of Mozart’s supreme creations.

K466 is the more serious and powerful of these Concertos and Takács-Nagy brings drama to the extensive introduction. The cadenzas are very suitable; they are those by Beethoven and sustain the dramatic atmosphere. The first movement of K467 is also delivered in forthright manner (Friedrich Gulda’s cadenzas are used in the outer movements) but there is a lighter touch. The timpani sound is more reserved here.

The two Finales find pianist and conductor taking a swift view and this is fitting in the context of the interpretations yet there is an impression of haste rather than speed; some entries are fractionally early and this gives a sense of instability.

Placed centrally, the Overture to Don Giovanni is eager, forceful and swift. Again there is a hint of haste but it is certainly exciting. The booklet note suggests the Overture ends quietly as it does when leading into Act One but here a brief coda is added.

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