Except for the Australian Eloquence CD reissues of Peter Maags Decca recordings of orchestral material, I cant imagine any release during this Mozart year being more valuable in its specified area than this imaginative collection of keyboard works. Among the 12 items (by no means limited to fantasias and rondos) are the familiar rondos in D major and A minor and the Fantasy in D minor, but the rest is for the most part quite unfamiliar. Included are the Minuet in D and the Little Gigue in G, which became the opening movements of Tchaikovskys orchestral suite Mozartiana; a March in C, better known in Mozarts own orchestral version; the stunningly imaginative Prelude and Fugue in C major; and the otherworldly beautiful Adagio in C, originally composed for glass harmonica. At the other end of the emotional spectrum is the sly Marcia funebre del Sigr. Maestro Contrapunto (whose Koechel number is transposed in the track listing from 453a to 354a, the only apparent flaw in this handsome production).
Richard Egarr, whom weve known primarily as a harpsichordist, selected and edited these pieces, and he plays them with compelling intensity, understanding and sheer brilliance on a fortepiano built in Brno some 14 years after the composers death. It suits this music down to the ground, as the splendid recording makes abundantly clear. Egarrs own booklet annotation, brief but meaty, is a further asset. "The hypnotic journey through the strange landscape of the Rondo in A minor," he writes, "leaves one speechless." This marvelous hour and a quarter leaves one profoundly enriched and profoundly grateful.
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