Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 21
This set begins in unusually dark Mozart territory, with the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 20 (much admired by Beethoven). Though the soloist still needs a lightness of touch—especially at the outset—in order to bring across the full impact of the music’s arc. Friedrich Gulda’s playing in the first movement is delicate, early on, before turning stormier during the cadenza composed by Beethoven. (Gulda’s way with that cadenza also sets up a winning contrast with the following, often-serene slow movement.) Concerto No. 21 is, likewise, a joy; conductor Claudio Abbado and the Vienna players provide ingenious support throughout.