Release date: August 23 on Canary Classics
"a first-rate Mozartean" - Chicago Tribune
Renowned pianist Orli Shaham, conductor David Robertson, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announce the international release of an album featuring two of Mozart’s most-loved piano concertos.
Recorded for Canary Classics at historic Powell Hall in November 2017 and January 2018, the valedictory season of Robertson’s 13-year tenure as Music Director of the SLSO, the album may be purchased via this link.
Between the month of his 21st birthday and the time of his death 14 years later, Mozart effectively invented the piano concerto and turned it into one of the most thrilling of all musical genres. Shaham trains the spotlight on the drama and expressive power of two of the composer’s finest works for keyboard and orchestra in her latest recording for Canary Classics. The album presents the compelling pairing of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 17 in G major K.453 and 24 in C minor K.491. Her vision of both scores is brought to life in company with the SLSO and Robertson, ideal partners in a project that penetrates deep beneath the surface of Mozart’s music to reveal a complex web of quicksilver emotions and fluctuating moods.
The album’s selected works stand as emblems of the extraordinary theatricality of Mozart’s concertos. Each highlights the spirit of dialogue between soloist and orchestra, the ever-shifting exchange of musical ideas, colors, and textures used by Mozart to create a world of limitless dramatic possibilities.
Pianist Orli Shaham said, “These pieces move with such intense energy, driven forward by themes that grow in many directions. They develop like characters in a play or an opera. Mozart always thought dramatically and theatrically first. The way he wrote the first melody you hear is the perfect way to set up a scene, whatever that scene is. I feel like these concertos are great examples of opera at the concerto level. With the theme and variations in the finales, for example, each variation is a little part of a scene in which the story is being pushed along.”
Taken together, the two concertos embrace tragedy and comedy, pathos and joy, laughter and tears. Mozart pushes at the boundaries of convention – from harmonic language and thematic development to the technical demands he makes on the soloist – to construct multiple layers of meaning.
The SLSO recording of the Mozart piano concerti is latest in a robust history of recordings that has resulted in nine Grammy Award wins. Most recently, the SLSO, in conjunction with Blue Engine records, released the first commercial recording of Wynton Marsalis’Swing Symphony in July 2019. The SLSO won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for the Nonesuch release of John Adams’ City Noir, conducted by Robertson.