Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 22 & 24 – Angela Hewitt, Hannu Lintu, National Arts Centre Orch (2014) [hyperion-records FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concertos Nos 22 & 24 – Angela Hewitt, Hannu Lintu, National Arts Centre Orch (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:03:17 minutes | 1.03 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records  | Front Cover  | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: July 2013, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Hyperion is delighted to present Angela Hewitt’s third volume of Mozart piano concertos. Writing in The Observer, Stephen Pritchard wrote of the first volume that ‘Judging from this first example, it’s going to be a journey as revelatory as her exploration of all the major keyboard works of Bach’.
Here Angela Hewitt is joined by her compatriot National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada and frequent collaborator Hannu Lintu for sparklingly stylish renditions of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos 22 and 24.
Both of these works were written between December 1785 and March 1786. For the first time in a piano concerto orchestration, in No 22 he uses clarinets—an instrument that became a regular member of orchestras only in the 1780s. No 24 is a dark and passionate work, made more striking by its classical restraint, and the final movement, a set of variations, is commonly called ‘sublime’.

Angela Hewitt continues her Mozart series with Hannu Lintu, switching from her Italian orchestra to the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra, which the conductor melds into a flexible and characterful ensemble. The concertos Nos 22 and 24 are linked by C minor, the key of the outer movements of K491 and the inner one of K482. It was, as Hewitt writes in her lucid and well-researched notes, a key of great tragedy for the composer. The problem is that although I found myself nodding in agreement with what she writes, what I hear leaves a rather different impression.

This is Mozart characterised by clarity of thought, attention to detail and reactive interplay between soloist and orchestra. But too often, pristine phrasing comes at the expense of a true depth of expression. In the grief-laden Andante of K482, though well set up by the orchestra, the piano’s utterance of the theme sounds cool and detached, especially when compared with Edwin Fischer’s mix of eloquence and Classical directness. And in the finale, Brendel and Mackerras prove more compelling purveyors of Mozart’s gentle wit.
K491 troubled me still more. The opening is darker in the collective hands of the Orpheus CO and the Cleveland Orchestra, for Goode and Uchida respectively. When Hewitt makes her entry, again it’s a strangely clipped affair; and though her passagework is beautifully honed, she doesn’t seem to engage with the score as some do. The moment where the flute takes up the opening theme, accompanied by piano (5’06”), for instance, sounds almost buoyant alongside Uchida’s proto-Romantic reading. And again in the slow movement, Hewitt’s pert phrasing prettifies the music where Curzon and Goode, in their different ways, lay bare its soul. Brendel, too, offers a much deeper, more multi-layered reading, Mackerras an ideal partner. Not a contender, unless you’re a diehard Hewitt fan. –Harriet Smith, Gramophone

Piano Concerto No 22 in E flat major K482
1 Allegro  [13’43]
2 Andante  [8’01]
3 Allegro  [10’57]

Piano Concerto No 24 in C minor K491
4 Allegro  [13’56]
5 Larghetto  [7’18]
6 Allegretto  [9’22]

Angela Hewitt, piano
National Arts Centre Orchestra
Hannu Lintu, conductor