Mozart: The Jupiter Project (Hyperion)
In an age when the majors pump out stars and brands, boutique labels are free to indulge in the cranky, the batty and the frankly off-the-wall. Which self-respecting woke person, for instance, would pay to hear Mozart’s major orchestral works shrunk to fit a Brooklyn or Lewisham bedsit? Mozart reduced to pocket-size by his principal rivals Hummel, Cramer and Clementi — do we really need that?
Actually, yes, yes, yes! It is totally thrilling to hear the C-major piano concerto K467 played by piano, flute, violin and cello… like a digital scan of Mozart’s mind working at full speed without bothering to fill in all those useless orchestral lines. Pocket-sized overtures to Magic Flute and Marriage of Figaro I can take or leave, but Clementi’s takedown of the Jupiter Symphony is utterly essential listening, replete with hints of where Mozart might have gone if he’d only lasted a little longer.
The album is the brainchild of scholar-pianist David Owen Norris, who plays a skittish 1826 Broadwood and tries to imagine how Mozart went down in London drawing-rooms around that time. Caroline Balding and Andrew Skidmore cover all the string parts and Katy Bircher is a more-than magical flute. Just listen.
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LUDWIG VAN TORONTO