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  • Philipp Emanuel Bach

     Japo_Japo updated 10 months, 2 weeks ago 1 Member · 1 Post
  • Japo_Japo

    October 1, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    With this music — plus a whispered performance of the Adagio in B minor and a haunted Fantasia in D minor — Ólafsson illustrates his point: He wants to debunk the image of Amadeus as the lighthearted savant with the hyena giggle. There are dark shadows and despair in this music. Still, even in the midst of suffering, Mozart could sound impossibly upbeat. As an example, Ólafsson includes the Kleine Gigue in G major, dashed off in May of 1789. With its bold harmonies and quirky rhythms, it sounds surprisingly modern.

    Mozart may have absorbed some of that radical sound from one of his heroes, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the second eldest son of Johann Sebastian and another Ólafsson favorite. C.P.E. Bach’s Rondo in D minor features crazy hairpin turns, abrupt stops and a freewheeling, off-the cuff-feel.

    Music by Josef Haydn — Mozart’s idol — makes an appearance on the album in a swift yet elegant rendition of the 47th Sonata. So does music by Domenico Cimarosa, a comic opera genius for whom Mozart once wrote an aria. Ólafsson unearths, and beautifully arranges, two of Cimarosa’s barely-known keyboard sonatas, taking great care to emphasize their long, singing melodies.

    I love how Víkingur Ólafsson plays — his warm tone, superior technique and crystalline transparency — but also how he thinks. Last year, for his album Debussy – Rameau, he set up a musical conversation of sorts between two groundbreaking French composers who lived nearly 200 years apart.

    Ólafsson concludes this album with a sublime salute to one of Mozart’s final pieces – a version of the Ave verum corpus in a delicate, transcendent performance that distills the simplicity of his music as its chords slowly rise to the heavens. It’s yet another side of the master composer, on a probing release that manages to offer listeners an attitude adjustment on Mozart within the context of his peers and our contemporary ears.

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