The Bohemian composer Josef Myslivecek befriended the young Mozart and his father in Italy in the early 1770s, and he has been recognized as an important influence on Mozart's style. You don't have to be a musicologist to hear the resemblance to Mozart in Myslivecek's sparkling, slightly melancholy melodies. Mostly, however, he was a composer of operas and symphonies (he wrote 55 of the latter), and in those genres Mozart had other influences at work. That's what makes this release by British pianist Clare Hammond so significant. Myslivecek did not write a lot of keyboard music, but in the two piano concertos that form the center of the program on this BIS release, you can hear clearly what Mozart admired: the full-scale development of the orchestral exposition, with nevertheless a clear definition of the soloist's role, the solo parts that make it easy for the player to sound effortless, and the limpid slow movement melodies over seemingly artless accompaniment. Sample the delightful "Larghetto" of the Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in F major. The two concertos here are very rare items, and Hammond made performing editions of them; the second in particular has probably not been heard anywhere since the composer's own time, and it's thoroughly enjoyable. Hammond has primarily been known as a performer of contemporary music, but she's a fine player in the Mozartian style, and she captures the economy of the easy student pieces, including six two-movement sonatas that fill out the program. Strongly recommended for Mozart lovers.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in B flat major|
|Six Easy Divertimenti for the Harpsichord or Piano-forte|
|Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in F major|
|Six Easy Lessons for the Harpsichord|