Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Piano Concertos-No 13

Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Piano Concertos-No 13

Article excerpt

Mozart

Piano Concertos--No 13, K415; No 18, K456; No 20, K466; No 22, K482

RTF National Symphony Orchestra / Finghin Collins pf

RTF Lyric FM (M) (2) CD143 (122' * DDD)

Mozart (H)

Piano Concertos--No 15, K450; No 20, K466

Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli SWR Radio

Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart / Antoine de Bavier

ICA Classics mono (F) ICAC5103 (54' * ADD)

Recorded live at the Ludwigsburg Festival, July 11, 1956

Six Mozart concertos in all and both Michelangeli and Collins play K466

It's clear that Finghin Collins delights in Mozart and the four concertos here are the fruits of his time as Associate Artist with the RTE National SO, which he directs from the keyboard. The works range widely in mood, from the relatively carefree K415 to the proto-Beethovenian K466, and Collins is alive to their different personalities and at pains to give each phrase apt contour and detail. The long lines of the slow movement of K415 are finely wrought in what is perhaps the most compelling performance in the set.

However, what is revealed when comparing Collins with the best is that neither he nor the orchestra can quite cut it in the most august company. Take K456, for instance: Richard Goode is just that degree more characterful, particularly in the finale. Or the opening movement of K482, where Alfred Brendel allies profound intelligence with a subtly shaded characterisation and has, in Charles Mackerras, the ideal sparring partner: in the same concerto's slow movement the restraint of the SCO is very telling. Finghin Collins has plenty to say in this work but ends up sounding almost fussy alongside them. Or turn back the clock further, to Edwin Fischer in 1935, to hear the slow movement imbued with a profound air of tragedy, after which his sparkling finale leaves Collins sounding just a touch careful. …

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