03 Mozart Robert LevinMozart – Piano Concertos K238 | K242 | K246
Robert Levin; Ya-Fei Chuang; Academy of Ancient Music
AAM AAM044 (aam.co.uk)

Few period music ensembles have had as long and illustrious a history as the Academy of Ancient Music.  Founded by Christopher Hogwood in 1973, it took its name from an earlier ensemble that existed between 1725 and 1806. Since then, the orchestra has maintained a reputation for its excellence in the performance of baroque and classical period music on period instruments. 

This newest recording on the AAM Classics label is the 12th and penultimate disc in a Mozart piano concerto cycle, presenting concertos numbers six, seven and eight – all from 1776 – with soloists Robert Levin and Ya-Fe Chuang under the direction of Laurence Cummings and Bojan Čičić.

This disc is a delight! Opening with the Concerto No.6, Levin delivers a fresh and robust performance on a tangent piano (a cross between a harpsichord and pianoforte) particularly suiting this youthful music. His phrasing is carefully conceived and the cadenzas, tasteful and creative. 

Levin is joined by Chuang on a fortepiano and Cummings (who also directs) on a harpsichord in the Concerto for Three Pianos K242, music written for the wealthy Lodron family of Salzburg with each of the solo parts composed to meet the ability of the original soloists. Here, the march-like opening movement, the lyrical adagio and sprightly Rondo finale are all adroitly handled by the three soloists who achieve a wonderful sense of balance while the AAM proves a sturdy and sympathetic partner.

Rounding out the recording is the Concerto K246, the “Lutzow” performed by Levin and directed by Čičić. Levin’ s approach is fluid and stylish, particularly in the courtly finale which brings the disc to a most satisfying conclusion. 

Attractive packaging and detailed notes further add to an already exemplary recording.  We can look forward to the final release in the series.

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