Triumphant close to Christian Blackshaw’s Wigmore Hall Mozart cycle
Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall, London
By Andrew Clark, Financial Times *****
Mozart’s piano sonata in A K.331 begins with a nursery rhyme-type theme which even those immune to classical music might recognise. On it is based an elaborate set of variations that only a mind of Mozart’s creative ingenuity could sustain. The challenge facing the interpreter is to carry the music through these quasi-repetitious elaborations without letting it sound banal. It is a measure of Christian Blackshaw’s complete identification with this strand of Mozart’s genius that these Andante grazioso variations – like so much else in Blackshaw’s recital, the last of his widely toured Mozart sonata cycle – had an intensity and concentration that generated unstoppable momentum.
Inherited wisdom tells us that Mozart’s 18 sonatas are either the product of an infant prodigy’s improvisatory whirls or a set of pedagogical exercises inhibited by classical form. More than half a century ago the great Lili Kraus told us otherwise. Now, in an equally sui generis bolt from the blue, Blackshaw has done something similar.
While not exactly turning Mozart into a Sturm und Drang composer, he showed in Saturday’s recital that the sonatas’ intricately worked-out forms and deceptively simple melodies are suffused with temperament and feeling. On that score alone, this series represents a landmark in London’s appreciation of this music.
22 September 2016Rozhdestvensky returns to Yomiuri Nippon as Honorary Conductor
20 September 2016Janai Brugger to sing Pamina in the Magic Flute at The Metropolitan Opera
19 September 2016David Parry conducts Tales of Hoffman in Wuppertal “with filigree allure and mighty climaxes”