On the final stretch of their series of Mozart's piano concertos, Ronald Brautigam, Michael Willens and Die Kölner Akademie are working their way backwards through the composer's catalogue. Here, on the penultimate disc, they have reached the earliest of the original works, composed in 1773 and 1776 respectively.
Piano Concerto No 5 K175 was to become one of Mozart's most popular piano concertos following his relocation to Vienna in the early 1780s. Mozart himself performed it often, and held it in such high regard that he found it worthwhile to compose a new finale for it in 1782. (The present recording retains the original finale, but the replacement - a Rondo - is included on BIS-2064.) No doubt the work's majestic scoring, which includes trumpets and timpani, contributed to its appeal.
In contrast, Concerto No.6, K 238, has a light and delicate scoring with an orchestra consisting of two oboes, two horns and strings. In the slow movement a pair of flutes replaces the oboes, and with the lower strings playing pizzicato and the upper strings using mutes, a memorably luminous quality is achieved.
Preceding these two concertos in Mozart's list of works are a number of 'pasticcio' arrangements, all made from earlier keyboard sonatas by other composers. Four of these, Concertos Nos. 1-4, will appear on the next and final disc in the series, while three others, grouped under the number K 107 in the Köchel catalogue, are included here. Based on sonatas by Johann Christian Bach, Mozart's arrangements are scored for keyboard, two violins and 'basso'. These 'pasticcios' are here performed by a chamber ensemble, with Ronald Brautigam being joined by three members of Die Kölner Akademie: the violinists Peter Hanson and Marie-Luise Hartmann and Albert Brüggen on the cello.