Kristian Bezuidenhout / Freiburger Barockorchester

Mozart: Piano Concertos K.413, 414, 415

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Kristian Bezuidenhout offers rather experimental, historical-performance recordings of Mozart that may come down to a matter of taste. In these three middle-period concertos he has sympathetic accompaniment from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, and together the musicians produce a distinctively high-powered, almost rough interpretation. It's not Mozartian in the classic sense, but who knows, maybe it'll become the standard. Bezuidenhout takes rapid tempos throughout, drains every bit of sentiment from the slow movements, and focuses on rhythm and texture more than on melodic beauty. He accompanies the orchestra in the tutti, mostly hanging in the background, but sometimes emerging to provide an abrupt buzz at cadences. This is novel, and it's hard to find any real justification for playing it this way. Nevertheless, there's an attractive energy to Bezuidenhout's playing that pulls you along even as you may disagree with individual decisions, and as a recording that runs decidedly counter to type, even among historical-instrument readings, this is unusually well thought through. Sample any of the three opening movements to see what you're getting into, and also to taste Harmonia Mundi's fine engineering work, which captures the diverse shades of Bezuidenhout's playing.

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