This year’s Mostly Mozart Festival’s opening concert featured the three great Austro-German masters of Classicism under Louis Langrée’s styilish conducting. The evening’s first soloist, Leif Ove Andsnes offered the dictionary version of what classical piano playing should be about in Beethoven’s third Piano Concerto – perfectly articulated, rhythmic alert, sensitive to tone colouring and never overdelicate. The conductor and the pianist’s Einverständnis was admirable – the Festival’s orchestra responded in perfectly blended sound to Andsnes’s multicoloured playing.
After the intermission, British mezzo soprano Alice Coote featured an intense account of Haydn’s Scena di Berenice. As much as the evening’s pianist, she has a good ear for tone colouring – and also very good Italian, a spontaneous grasp of Classical style and perfectly connected registers. Again the conductor and the soloists seemed to be playing on the same concept, which was highlighting the theatricality of Haydn’s piece. The lyric moments seemed a bit displaced in this approach, but what a tour-de-force nonetheless. To close the evening, a most transparent and expressive account of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, when again the Festival’s orchestra proved to be in really great shape.