One composer to have come up with more famous classical themes than perhaps any other is Mozart.
And it was with great joy that I dropped in to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate yesterday to see two of his best-known works performed.
In the first section of the concert, Alexandra Dariescu took on the challenging piano part in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, accompanying the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra.
This piece leaves all pianists thoroughly exposed. Here lie no messy chords or pages of multi-layered musical text to hide behind. The tune is simply and often taken by the pianist’s left or right hand, interspersed by pure, quick-fire runs up and down the keyboard.
Add to this the fact that the power of Mozart’s music needs to be conveyed with a feather-light touch, and this is no easy piece to play. But Alexandra managed to use her skill to beautifully accentuate the strength of Mozart’s themes, while holding off on any unwarranted keyboard bashing; the sign of a really great player with a true understanding of Mozart’s work.
The orchestra also played their part well, picking up themes sensitively and subtly, while not overshadowing or drowning out the central star of the show, the piano.
I really enjoyed the piece and the performance was well matched in the second half by a rendition of Mozart’s Requiem, by the Northampton Bach Choir and The Boys and Men of All Saints Church, Northampton, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Carrying the solo sections were the excellent soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn, mezzo soprano Kitty Whately, tenor Anthony Gregory and baritone David Stout.
This famously unfinished piece, the last Mozart ever wrote, is one of the composer’s most magnificent. I personally would have liked to have heard, at times, even more power coming through in the voices of the lower sections of the choir, but overall it was a fine performance of a truly intense and poignant work.
A wonderful celebration of one of the world’s greatest composers, I would recommend music-lovers take any opportunity they can to see Alexandra in action at the piano, she really is a noteworthy musical talent.