When pianist Vikingur Ólafsson first played Mozart, he was only eight years old. On his music stand was the so-called ‘easy’ Sonata in C, K544, tackled by many a budding piano student. Mere child’s play? Far from it. Attempting to master this sonata – agonising over its runs of notes and the music’s apparent simplicity – so enraged the young Ólafsson, that he grabbed a pencil and scrawled all over the score.

Víkingur Ólafsson

Fast forward nearly three decades, and the Icelandic pianist has returned to his old foe, with Mozart and his Contemporaries . This new album matches the superb quality of his recent Deutsche Grammophon recordings, which have illuminated Glass, Bach, Debussy and Rameau. And it bears all the now-familiar Ólafsson hallmarks: that distinctive sound; those imaginative programming touches; the sense that the music is both timeless and freshly minted.

There’s always an element of discovery (though never didacticism) with Ólafsson’s albums, and here he explores the world around Mozart. The first notes we hear – in a minor-key, full...