Alon Goldstein / Fine Arts Quartet

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21

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Mozart's orchestral music, and that of many other composers, was arranged for small ensembles for home use through much of the 19th century and even beyond; for those wanting to reproduce the music they liked at home, playing it was the way to do so. Mozart himself okayed the performance of some of the earlier, more string-heavy concertos a quattro, and he would have found these arrangements for piano, string quartet, and bass, perfectly normal. The arranger is Ignaz Lachner, a Romantic-era composer who was a youthful associate of Schubert in that composer's final years. The piano parts are unchanged, and in general these were probably state-of-the-art jobs of the time. Lachner catches the greater part of the polyphonic structure in the comparatively limpid Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, and pianist Alon Goldstein and the Fine Arts String Quartet take advantage of the chance to experiment with making the music more string quartet-like. All this said, the Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, cannot be said to be anything other than a pale shadow of its original self here; it just cries out for the brass and wind parts; another concerto, perhaps one of the earlier ones, might have made a better choice. The sound, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, is well-suited to the material.

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