- Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K. 482
- Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
Alfred Brendel's interpretations of Mozart's piano concertos have deepened considerably over the years -- which should come as no surprise, given this artist's probing intellect. His set of the complete concertos (with Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields) was one of the highlights of Philips's gigantic Mozart Edition, offering performances of pristine clarity and classical poise. In these new versions, Brendel digs deeper into the music's emotional core. Thus, the Andante of K. 482 becomes a poignant, lonely aria in his hands. And if the finale does not sparkle as it did in the earlier account, the heightened sense of intimacy helps tie all three movements together with a uniquely satisfying effect. The B-flat Concerto, K. 595 -- Mozart's last -- is also more expressively done here, offering a magical mix of delicacy, grace, and tenderness that is surely unmatched on record. Sir Charles Mackerras elicits warm playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, although one misses the Academy's faultless precision and aural transparency. Issued in celebration of Brendel's 70th birthday, it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful gift than this extraordinary recording -- a gift from a great artist to his devoted audience.