This month sees the release of a second set of arrangements of Mozart’s piano concertos by Ignaz Lachner. Such a practice was not uncommon in the 18th century, and one that found approval from the composers themselves, Mozart included, in order to make the works more accessible to the public.
The accompaniments (skilfully scored for string quartet and double bass) are once again provided by the Fine Arts Quartet, joined by bassist Alex Bickard. The solo piano part, retained in its original form, is performed by Alon Goldstein.
Mozart himself saw the advantages of creating more accessible versions of his concertos in reduced instrumentation. Ignaz Lachner followed common 19th-century practice by leaving the piano parts of these concertos intact and making splendid transcriptions of the orchestra parts using only a string quartet with added bass. K. 488 and K. 491 are two of Mozart’s greatest and most popular piano concertos. These chamber versions throw an intense and intimate new light on familiar music.
Listen to an extract from Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major:
III. Allegro assai
About the Artists
The Fine Arts Quartet, “one of the gold-plated names in chamber music” (Washington Post), ranks among the most distinguished ensembles in chamber music today, with an illustrious history of performing success and an extensive legacy of over 200 recorded works. Founded in Chicago in 1946, the quartet is one of the elite few to have recorded and toured internationally for well over a half-century.
Alon Goldstein has performed at major concert halls around the world under leading conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Herbert Blomstedt, Vladimir Jurowski, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Leon Fleisher. His engagements have included a 17-concert Latin American tour with the Israel Chamber Orchestra under Yoav Talmi. He has recorded Dvořák’s piano trios for Naxos with his Tempest Trio (8.573279 and 8.573723)
Alex Bickard won the Juilliard double bass concerto competition aged 19, resulting in his solo debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. His festival appearances include the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Pacific and Castleton festivals, while his chamber music collaborators have included the Ariel and Fine Arts Quartets as well as the International Sejong Soloists, in performances spanning three continents.