Piano Concerto No.22 in E flat, K482
Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor, K491
David Greilsammer (piano)
Recorded January 2009 in The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, New York
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: October 2009
CD No: NAÏVE V 5184
Duration: 60 minutes
This is an altogether remarkable release!
From the very beginning of the C minor Piano Concerto, placed first on the disc, we are in a very different world from the ‘usual’ view of this music. The tempo for the first movement is very sprightly, but not rushed; more importantly it sounds convincing and reveals an emotional rough and tumble, yet David Greilsammer is content to confide the music to us, the recording emphasising the chamber-music rapport that exists between him and the superb Suedama Ensemble (modest in terms of personnel, just sixteen strings, and with a wonderful individual and group personality) but with no lack of passionate outbursts. Greilsammer’s first-movement cadenza is a reflective affair – but it works – and with a serenade-like slow movement, and a scampering if always-poised finale, this is a revelatory performance – both of the music and also the interaction of this pianist and his fellow musicians, something which the recording intimately and tangibly conveys.
In the grand E flat Piano Concerto, blend and balance is once again well-nigh-perfect, the festivities of the first movement vividly shining through scintillating woodwind interjections and the sheer joy of making music for its own sake; Greilsammer, lively and unforced, and wholesome if mischievously individual in a wholly natural way (not least in another striking cadenza), is a master of avoiding novelty yet shining a light on the notes in a wholly inventive way. With a solemnly lovely slow movement, with woodwinds once again serenading beguilingly, and a shapely and relaxed finale, the slow interlude fully belonging, this delicious movement is full of bucolic fun.
These are not ‘authentic’ performances; it’s a modern piano and a modern orchestra (if one that leans to period practice) and all the musicians seem to play as friends, each on top of their game. This is music, particularly K491 (which can trudge along), that has become accreted with cobwebs; Greilsammer and his confreres blow them away with poise, sensitivity and freshness that takes these concertos to divine heights.