Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 24 & 25; Rondo in A major

London Symphony Orchestra / Robert Trory / Valerie Tryon

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 24 & 25; Rondo in A major Review

by James Manheim

The chief attraction of this Mozart concerto disc by British pianist Valerie Tryon would seem to be the presence of the little-played cadenza by ultra-virtuoso Polish-American pianist Leopold Godowsky in the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491. And indeed it's quite a revelation. Not at all the Lisztian extravaganza one might expect, it's a flowing, rather meditative essay borne of a deep admiration for Mozart, who wasn't much played by pianists in the 1920s except for a few big works. The booklet (in English, French, and German) reprints some useful Godowsky writings from the 1920s in this regard. The cadenza has some Chopin-level chromaticism, and the producers put it on a track of its own so that listeners who prefer to can substitute the more usual Hummel cadenza, also provided on a separate track, by programming their CD players. But such listeners would miss the artful ways in which Tryon and conductor Robert Trory, leading the London Symphony Orchestra, fuse Tryon's own rather low-key style with the cadenza. Her playing in the Beethovenian C minor concerto is not so dramatic, but she and Trory gradually deepen the texture over the course of the first movement so as to build up tension. The spacious Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503, almost an essay in pure texture, fares especially well in Tryon's hands (this concerto is given Hummel's cadenza in the opening movement), and the slow movements of both works are gorgeously subtle and lyrical. The Rondo for piano and orchestra in A major, K. 386, serves as an ideal entr'acte between the two concertos. Even in a British scene with no shortage of Mozart concerto recordings on contemporary instruments, this is a standout release that should find a wide audience.

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