Exciting Piemontesi Plays a Brace of Mozart Concertos with SCO


Beethoven, Mozart: Francesco Piemontesi (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Andrew Manze (conductor), Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 04.02.2016 (SRT)

Beethoven:   Overtures, Coriolan and The Creatures of Prometheus
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 25 & 26

When you’ve got one of the world’s freshest, most exciting Mozart pianists on the evening’s billing, it’s a shame to waste him, and that was why nobody was complaining when we got not one, but two of Mozart’s late piano concertos tonight.  Francesco Piemontesi has taken the classical music world by storm since coming to prominence only a few years ago, and in his debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra last season, I praised him for his sensitivity and delicacy.  Those qualities were there in spades tonight.  Piemontesi writes warmly of his partnership with the SCO in the programme note and, even allowing for the fact that it’s the sort of thing that any visiting soloist would say, you could sense a real symbiotic relationship between the soloist and orchestra.

Piano Concerto No. 25 is the triumphal climax of Mozart’s late concerto style, but this reading wore its majesty lightly, thanks mostly to Andrew Manze’s careful ear for detail and refusal to get bogged down, with a big sound that had air in the middle.  Piemontesi allowed the piano to steal in gently at the beginning, treading delicately where others might storm, and throughout there was a beautiful tripping quality to his playing that seemed to suggest the joy of a new discovery, as if he was revelling in the beauty of this music for the very first time.  He brought quiet intensity to the slow movement, offset by gorgeous playing from the orchestral winds, and throughout the finale, which was merry rather than forceful, the piano wove its way in and out of the orchestral texture like a partner rather than a hero.  If the “Coronation” Concerto grabbed me slightly less then that’s because it’s a slightly less satisfying work (though only by Mozart’s very high standards), but the same quality of sound was there, thanks to Manze’s brisk tempi, a fresh, clean piano sound, and playing that was delicate and playful rather than conventionally festive.  Piemontesi is the real deal when it comes to repertoire like this, and I hope we see a lot more of him in the future.

The two Beethoven overtures provided a bit of balance and symmetry, even if they felt slightly incidental.  Coriolan was clean and neat, if lacking the nth degree of energy until the final run into the coda.  Prometheus, on the other hand, was altogether more satisfying, its opening pregnant with anticipation, and then a scurrying main Allegro that never let up its energy for an instant.

Simon Thompson






Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Hampstead Garden Opera Bring The Enchanted Pig to Highgate in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Svetlana Zakharova and Bolshoi Stars Bring Amore to the London Coliseum in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Tom Green and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife Premieres on 15 October in Cardiff __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H