Josef Mysliveček: Complete Music for Keyboard (SACD)

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Clare Hammond, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan

Born in Prague in 1737, Josef Mysliveček spent most of his short life in Italy, where for a while he enjoyed success with his many operas, and became known as ‘Il Boemo’ (‘The Bohemian’). It was also in Italy – in Bologna – that he first met Mozart, in 1770. Their paths would cross again and in letters Mozart wrote about him with affection, describing him as full of ‘fire, spirit and life’. Mysliveček’s influence is apparent in Mozart’s early operas, violin concertos, symphonies and keyboard music. His music soon fell out of fashion, however, and it is only recent decades that have seen a growing interest in works such as the wind octets, violin concertos and symphonies.

In comparison, Mysliveček’s output for keyboard has been somewhat neglected, something which the English pianist Clare Hammond seeks to rectify with her latest disc. The keyboard concertos in particular have barely seen the light of day since Mysliveček’s death and the second concerto is recorded for the first time on this disc which gathers all of the extant keyboard works. Clare Hammond, whose imaginative recording projects on BIS have received international acclaim, is here supported in the concertos by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by no one less than Nicholas McGegan, whose expertise in 18th-century style is undisputed.

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Josef Myslivecek (1737–81):
1–3) Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in B flat major
4–9) Six Easy Divertimenti for keyboard
10–12) Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in F major (world première recording)
13–24) Six Easy Lessons for keyboard