Classical review: SCO: Anderszewski plays Mozart, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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Edinburgh audiences adore pianist Piotr Anderszewski, packing the hall to see him direct the SCO from the keyboard in two Mozart piano concertos.

SCO: Anderszewski plays Mozart

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * * *

Although number 23 in A major and 25 in C major were written in the same year, 1786, they could not be more different. The A major is more delicate, it’s wistful, intricate themes ideally suited to Aderszewski’s lightness of touch. He has to be one of the finest Mozart interpreters around with his ability to make subtle changes in tone and phrasing that are both profound and intoxicating. Apart from the piano being occasionally stifled by excessive orchestral exuberance, particularly in the sublime slow movement, this was a performance to savour.

In the C major piano, Mozart not only anticipates Beethoven but also the French national anthem, yet to be written, which weaves in and out of the first movement. This concerto is much grander than the A major in every sense with both pianist and orchestra relishing the eloquent phrases and skipping tunes, and this time the sound balance between the two was spot on.

There’s always a frisson of excitement when Alexander Janiczek leads and directs the SCO as he did for the remainder of this programme.

He brought out the lyrical sweetness in Schubert’s Italinate Overture in D major and grabbed Beethoven’s densely contrapuntal Grosse Fugue by the scruff of the neck. While the turbulent beginning would have benefited from clearer articulation, overall the fearless execution of this work for strings was exhilarating.