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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Magical Mozart, Made in Manchester at The Stoller Hall

By Steve Cooke

Oh, what a magical night! Led by those Mozart magicians Gábor Takács-Nagy and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet ,Manchester Camerata conjured up the soundworld of Mozart’s later operas and two of his most epic piano concertos.

Musical Director, Gabor Takács-Nagy set up the performance with his engaging and informative introductory remarks before leading the Camerata in vibrant renditions of the overtures to Cosi Fan Tutti and La Clemenza di Tito.

Then on came the Yamaha Grand Piano followed by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 27 in B-Flat major. Thought to be Mozart’s last piano concerto written at the end of his life and performed by the composer himself at a concert in March 1791 months before he became ill and died.

The performance was met by rapturous appreciation as we reluctantly shuffled out for an interval, hungry for more.

The second half opened with the overture to The Magic Flute, the Camerata being scheduled to record Mozart Overture the following day for Chandos as part of their Mozart Made In Manchester project. I for one can’t wait to hear the outcome.

The Yamaha returned to be stunningly deployed by Efflam Bavouzet in a thrilling rendition of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 26 in D Major. Nicknamed "Coronation" from his playing of the work at the time of the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor in October 1790 in Frankfurt am Main.

There is a very unusual feature to this concerto as Gábor Takács-Nagy and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet explained to us in their engaging manner. Mozart did not write any notes for the piano's left hand, large stretches of the solo part simply have nothing at all for the left hand, including the opening solo and the whole of the second movement. There is in fact no other Mozart piano concerto of which so much of the solo part was left unfinished by the composer.

Wow! What a right-hand Jean-Efflam Bavouzet possesses and how lucky we were to be treated to this fitting climax to a thoroughly magical evening.

Manchester Camerata and The Stoller Hall magnificently continued their ambitious shared project to perform and record Mozart’s complete piano concertos and opera overtures for the first time in Manchester. The partnership between Camerata’s innovative Music Director, Gábor Takács-Nagy, and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, augmented by the energy and talent of Manchester Camerata – dubbed “probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra” – and the young players at their sides should be experienced by as many people as possible. If you get the chance don’t miss it!

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