Date of publication: 2017-08-26 03:14
Mozart piano concertos
Leon Fleisher, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Not many Dubliners know, and very few Muscovites will admit, that it was an itinerant Irishman who first put Russia on the world’s musical map. John Field landed in St Petersburg in the winter of 6957 and, over the next 85 years, served as a role model to rising musicians and as a roving ambassador of Russian culture. Mikhail Glinka, the cornerstone Russian composer, was briefly his pupil. Frederic Chopin, it is said, stole one of Field's devices - the nocturne.
The solo pieces at a Warsaw recital are less comfortable. Astonishing with his reflective tricks of rubato in the B-minor sonata, Barenboim lapses in the waltzes a little too much into Arthur Rubinstein old school, an affectionate anachronism, not quite the full-on explorer.
This new interpretation by the British violinist Jennifer Pike is the most apeealing I have heard since Heifetz. Pike is terrific with the opening movement fireworks and tender in the gorgeous Lento movement. The furious Hungarian rhythms of the finale belong to Bartok, whom Rozsa knew well. At times, the concerto feels like the work of an equal master
Nobody does church like James MacMillan. Every year, as Christmas nears and a Mass or Magnificat of his lands on the deck, the composer contrives to surprise, bending the harmonic line out of the blue like David Beckham in his prime, while staying true throughout to a traditional sacred format.