The youthful chamber orchestra is as much a feature of this recording as the soloist. I had to replay the first minute of track 3 to convince myself they hadn’t used synthesised strings, so perfectly was it all synced and timed. Admittedly, the woodwinds do give them away as humanoids, but on the whole they play splendidly.
Before you press the play button to track 1, sit yourself somewhere quiet, draw the blinds and make sure you’re holding someone’s hand. The hair-raising opening to No. 20 will just about summon the ghost of the Commendatore from Don Giovanni. Kissin first performed this piece for his orchestral debut at age 10! He plays it now, almost 30 years later, with masterful confidence, and a crisp, meaty touch. This was allegedly Beethoven’s favourite Mozart concerto, and we are blessed to hear Ludwig’s thrilling cadenza to this work, showcasing Kissin’s virtuosity.
In the slower movements, Kissin’s playing is so bare and simple you almost wish someone would bring the poor boy a coat. No doubt Mozart would have preferred the melodies, in his own words, to “flow like honey”. But Kissin’s naïve touch does convey something very delicate and vulnerable in the music.
In No 27, the last of Mozart’s concertos, Kissin softens his tone a little, getting it, to my taste, pitch-perfect. This concerto is a delight from start to finish, with Kissin in complete control. A must for