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On this disc one of the world’s finest pianists encounters one of the world’s greatest wind quintets, performing two very special works: Mozart’s and Beethoven’s quintets for piano and winds. The unusual scoring has led these works to be performed less often than they deserve: indeed, in 1784 Mozart wrote about his work to his father Leopold stating ‘I myself consider it to be the best thing I have ever written’. Twelve years later, Beethoven composed his Quintet, which he also arranged for the standard piano quartet combination. Beethoven must have been familiar with Mozart’s work: the choice of the same key and the same formal structure (down to small details) cannot be purely coincidental.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quintet in E flat major, K. 452
I. Largo - Allegro moderato
III. Rondo: Allegretto
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio and Rondeau in C minor, K. 617 (arr. for piano quintet)
Rondo: Allegro, alla breve
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 16
I. Grave - Allegro, ma non troppo
II. Andante cantabile
III. Rondo: Allegro, ma non troppo
“The combination of Stephen Hough and wind players from the BPO makes for sparkling performances of these two quintets… It is noticeable that the Berlin horn is less plummy than the Viennese, and in the slow movement of the Mozart Hough and his partners take a lighter view than their rivals, highlighting the tenderness. Hough and the Berliners also bring out the stylistic contrasts between Mozart and the youthful Beethoven, who expressly adopted the layout of the Mozart Quintet.”