Ch’io mi scordi di te?, K505
Piano Concerto No.25 in C, K503
Symphony No.4 in G
Golda Schultz (soprano)
Francesco Piemontesi (piano)
New York Philharmonic
Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski
Reviewed: 3 February, 2024
Venue: Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City
Guest Gianandrea Noseda led off with ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te?, the grandest of Mozart’s 35 concert arias, a ‘Scene and Rondo’. Golda Schultz’s radiant soprano was bright enough in the vocal part – gently flowing with gorgeous legato in the opening aria, fierce and flexible in the coloratura sections of the rondo, but the prominent presence of a music stand lessened the sense of drama and freedom in herinterpretation. In his Philharmonic debut, Francesco Piemontesi’s playing was energetic and sparkling, both in his solo moments and the passages where he duetted with the singer, Noseda eliciting bright sounds and good ensemble from the Philharmonic.
In the expansive C major Concerto, Piemontesi fully revealed himself to be an exquisite interpreter of Mozart. His finely phrased, fleet fingered but clearly articulated playing was alive with the spontaneity, subtlety, and distinction characteristic of a great Mozart performance. He paced each movement perfectly. Opening with a splendid sense of the maestoso in the first movement, which he enhanced with a nuanced rendering of Friedrich Gulda’s brilliant cadenza, he discretely embellished the lines of the tranquil central Andante, and most effectively conveyed the triumphantly confident mood of the final Allegretto. This was an altogether scintillating account, strengthened by some impressively rambunctious interplay between piano and orchestra. Piemontesi’s encore was equally brilliant: a shimmering rendition of Leopold Godowsky’s Study on Chopin’s Etude in A-flat, Opus 25/1.
Noseda then molded a nicely paced reading of Mahler’s Fourth, bringing out its deeper emotions as well as its charm. The incident-packed first movement was fresh and beautifully shaped, as he delicately controlled tempo and drew superlative playing. The wry second movement, with its danse macabre scherzos and Ländler-like trios, was clean cut and crisp. But it was the superbly paced celestial Adagio that distinguished this performance. Hushed and strikingly intense from the start, with contrasts of tempo finely judged, its closing pages led into the final movement where Schultz (sans music stand) sang in ravishing voice and with consummate artistry.