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Pizzicato, October 2018

The Fine Arts Quartet, pianist Alon Goldstein and contrabassist Alexander Bickard continue their series of Mozart Concerts by Ignaz Lachner for string quartet, double bass and piano. This time, the piano concertos No. 23 and 24 are on the program, ie KV 488 and KV 491. Spirited playing and a perfectly mixed, subtly nuanced and transparent sound make these recordings a pure listening pleasure. © 2018 Pizzicato

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2018

In recent times transcriptions of Mozart’s Piano Concertos using piano, string quartet and double bass, have been enjoying a new-found concert hall popularity. Such arrangements were part of musical life in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Mozart had already made such arrangements of his earlier concertos too much success. After his death the Austrian composer and conductor, Ignaz Lachner, looked towards two later concertos, little knowing that they would become among Mozart’s most popular works. He took as his starting point the need to leave the piano part intact, which left him using the five string players to fulfil the orchestral role. There he was faced with the problem of capturing the timbre that the woodwind bring to the accompaniment, and the fact the purely orchestral passages did feature the woodwind departments. In Lachner’s day that mattered little as he was simply creating performing editions of the concertos for locations where no orchestra was available, or were they were to be used by a few highly proficient musicians playing the works for their own pleasure. It does, of course, depend on the performers having the ability to strike the correct balance between them to produce a convincing outcome. That is, for much of the time, admirably achieved in this present recording, if at times Alon Goldstein gets carried away with the juicy part Mozart gave to the keyboard. Tempos throughout are well chosen, the finale’s imbued with a sense of happiness, and rarely can that beautiful melody in the second movement of the Twenty-fourth have been shaped with such affection. Among their large number of recordings this is one of Fine Arts most successful. Reliable sound quality. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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