After playing Beecke (Ignaz von Beecke: Piano Concertos) it was interesting to listen to this Mozart CD, the final volume of Brautigam’s cycle of Mozart piano concertos recorded on copies of period fortepianos.
The instrument in this case is by Paul McNulty (2007), and it gets its own page in the excellent sleeve notes; it’s after Johann Andreas Stein (1788), who built around 700 fortepianos, and was praised by Mozart himself.
These concertos are also all pasticcio pieces, transcriptions of the work of other composers but reworked by Mozart and his father. They were thought to be originals until comparatively recently, then it was found they were works by Hermann Friedrich Raupach, Leontzi Honauer, Johann Schobert, Johann Gottfried Eckard and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
According to the sleeve notes, Mozart converted the original sonatas to concertos by adding tutti passages to the original music (tutti meaning all, as in the orchestra as opposed to the soloist; Die Kolner Academie provide the music on this CD).
The aim of this was either to improve his composing skills or to give him the means to show off his keyboard technique, though it could also have been to pass the time as he avoided a smallpox outbreak in Vienna.
Mozart is obviously in a different league to Beecke, and the music expertly arranged, with an intensity that a lesser composer could never match. The playing is excellent, and it’s all something of a joy, really.
In the Beecke review we quote someone as saying he played “far better” than Mozart — he must have been an excellent player, though he was in his 40s and Mozart still a teenager. Any further comparison is rendered pointless when you read in the sleeve notes here that Mozart crafted these pieces when he was 11. Get your coat, Beecke.
Out on BIS 2094 and it’s a SACD.