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Leif Ove Andsnes & MCO Continue Exploring Seminal Mozart Period on MM/1786: New Sony Double Album, Out April 8

April 8 brings the release of MM/1786, the second volume of Leif Ove Andsnes’s award-winning Sony Classical series Mozart Momentum 1785/1786. A six-time Gramophone Award-winner, the Norwegian pianist is widely recognized as one of today’s leading interpreters of Mozart’s music, and the series – his second as the inaugural Artistic Partner of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) – explores one of the most creative and seminal periods of the composer’s career. Recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein, the new double album showcases six works composed in 1786. Andsnes leads the MCO from the keyboard in Mozart’s 23rd and 24th Piano Concertos and in his concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te?,” with Brahms Prize-winning German soprano Christiane Karg as soloist, as well as joining MCO principals Matthew Truscott, Joel Hunter and Frank-Michael Guthmann for Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat and Piano Trio in B-flat, and giving a solo account of the composer’s Rondo in D.

The new release follows the success of the series’ first installment, MM/1785. Featuring Andsnes’s account of Mozart’s 22nd Piano Concerto, chosen as one of the New York Times’s “25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2021,” the recording was named one of the “Best Classical Albums of 2021” by Gramophone, nominated for a 2022 International Classical Music Award, and recognized with France’s prestigious Diapason d’or de l’année for Best Concerto Album of 2021. As the UK’s Telegraph put it, MM/1785 captures performances “as masterly and finished and perfect as the music itself.”

This success owes in part to the special rapport Andsnes shares with the MCO, which

prompted The Guardian to marvel: “You’d be hard put to find a pianist and orchestra better matched.” The pianist explains:

“There is an attitude in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra that you are not just there to play well, you’re there to find a truth in the music. It’s something that is very special and that I have never experienced in quite the same way with another orchestra.”

The Mozart Momentum 1785/1786 project enables Andsnes and the orchestra to delve into what is not only a high point of the composer’s career, but also one of the most remarkable periods in classical music history. Andsnes says:

“When you realize how quickly Mozart developed during the early years of the 1780s, it makes you ask: why did this happen? What was going on? It’s about the momentum of his creativity at this time.”

In 1785 and 1786, the year he composed The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart was riding an unprecedented wave of popular success and musical evolution. It was at this time that he wrote a series of masterpieces that would forever change the piano concerto. He re-examined the roles of the soloist and orchestra, discovering new possibilities for communication and dialogue between them. Andsnes explains:

“There was new creative energy in the air. Mozart seems to have gone deeper and deeper into the idiom and its possibilities and tried new techniques. I don’t know any music that offers such emotional diversity.”

The Mozart Momentum project also explores some of Mozart’s works from the same period for other genres, all of which are united by the piano’s presence. Andsnes says:

“The idea was to explore the diversity of what was going on in Mozart’s creative life at the time – to show that a separation between solo playing, chamber music playing and concerto playing isn’t really relevant.”

By showcasing the transformative role Mozart played in the development of the piano concerto, contextualized with examples of his other compositions from the same period, Andsnes and the MCO hope to present a rich portrait of the Classical master at the top of his game.

What critics are saying about MM/1785:

Best Classical Albums of 2021: “The camaraderie that was so evident in their groundbreaking Beethoven cycle with Leif Ove Andsnes is, if anything, even more apparent here. … A remarkable achievement.” – Gramophone magazine

“Throughout, the easy exchange between these musicians helps to emphasise the forces’ shifting relationships. … I listened with great joy. Five stars.” – The Times of London

Record of the Week: “Dazzlingly imaginative music making.” – BBC Radio 3

5 Classical Albums to Hear Right Now: “I was especially taken with his splendid account of the less-often-heard Concerto No. 22 in E-flat. Andsnes … makes every note matter.” – New York Times

CD of the Week: “The interplay with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra is powerful and demanding. … At last, we have Mozart performed from the heart.” – Radio Klassik, Germany

The Best Classical CDs & DVDs of 2021 so far: “The results are as masterly and finished and perfect as the music itself. The orchestral playing is gloriously fine-grained and detailed … [and] the feeling of total understanding between them is a joy in itself.” – The Telegraph, UK

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Leif Ove Andsnes: MM/1786

Mozart Momentum 1785/1786, Vol. 2
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano and direction
Recorded with Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Release date: April 8
Label: Sony Classical

Disc 1
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K.488 (cadenza: MOZART)
MOZART: Recitative & concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” K.505
(with Christiane Karg, soprano)
MOZART: Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat, K.493
(with MCO principals Matthew Truscott, violin; Joel Hunter, viola; Frank-Michael Guthmann, cello)

Disc 2
MOZART: Rondo for Piano in D
MOZART: Piano Trio No. 3 in B-flat, K.502
(with MCO principals Matthew Truscott, violin; Frank-Michael Guthmann, cello)
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491 (cadenza: ANON)

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© 21C Media Group, March 2022


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