Piano Concertos – No.15 in B-flat, K450; No.16 in D, K451
Quintet in E-flat for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, K452*
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)
Rachael Clegg (oboe), Fiona Cross (clarinet), Naomi Atherton (horn) & Ben Hudson (bassoon)*
Recorded 9-11 April 2018 in The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester, England
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: November 2018
CD No: CHANDOS CHAN 20035
Duration: 71 minutes
Three consecutive Köchel numbers, so it’s strange to have K451 placed before K450, and if you are going to tinker with the catalogue order why not have the Quintet separating the Concertos for a difference of medium? It’s academic of course given the listener has control of what to play and the order.
I guess K451 opens the programme because with its martial trumpet and drums it is more arresting than the courtly K450, and Gábor Takács-Nagy makes it vivid and dynamic, the Manchester Camerata incisive and lyrical, complemented by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s scintillating playing, brilliant and bravura, and perfectly balanced with the ideally captured reach-out-and-touch orchestra, all suggesting that the relatively new Stoller Hall (associated to Chetham’s School of Music) boasts an enviably impressive acoustic, unencumbered, faithful and tangible. With a dreamy slow movement, expressive woodwinds to the fore, and a dashing Finale, this K451 really speaks to the senses.
So too the whimsies of K450, formalities with a flounce in the first movement, enjoyed by the performers and – with no sound barrier in the way – shared with us. In addition to the agreeable opening Allegro there is a darkly beautiful slow movement, given here with poetic space, and the elegantly cheerful Finale. As for the Piano and Wind Quintet, once again the recording preserves every note and nuance, friends making civilised conversation, mostly intimate, always intelligent, a lively and considered discourse, give and take, changes of colour and character.