Born on 11 February 1946, Rudolf Buchbinder celebrated his 60th birthday
just two weeks after Mozart's 250th birthday - a happy coincidence of
landmark events that prompted the great Austrian pianist to present a
series of Mozart piano concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at
the 2006 Vienna Festival.
The works, recorded live at the Musikverein in Vienna on 7 May 2006,
represent the crème de la crème of Mozart's concerto output of the years
1784 to 1786. Mozart had arrived in Vienna in March 1781 to work as an
independent composer. In addition to seeking commissions from the Imperial
Court, he also held subscription concerts at various venues, including the
homes of the nobility. Mozart had to satisfy the needs of the fashionable
Viennese public by creating a steady flow of virtuoso arias, symphonies,
chamber music and piano concertos.
Between 1784 and 1786 he wrote no fewer than 12 piano concertos, many of
them unsurpassed in the history of this genre. The earliest work on this
recording is the Concerto in E flat major K. 449, a work of fairly modest
dimensions that was followed in early 1785 by the great D minor Concerto
K. 466, a dramatic, gripping piece painted with tormented "Sturm und Drang"
brushstrokes. Later that year, he wrote the "big" E flat Concerto K. 482,
the first to include clarinets, a natural development in a genre that was
increasingly taking on symphonic traits.
While the A major Concerto K. 488 glows with an inner serenity, the C minor
work that follows it, K. 491, is a grand, almost heroic, work with wild
outbursts of raw passion. It is also the most heavily scored of Mozart's
concertos. Its successor, the C major Concerto K. 503, is the most
technically difficult of all of the concertos, and can perhaps be seen as
the culmination of his output in this genre.
Although Rudolf Buchbinder commands a mighty repertoire, he is best known
for his interpretations of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and
Brahms. In recent years, Buchbinder has specialized in giving cycles of
performances - the complete Haydn sonatas, for example, or the complete
Beethoven sonatas - which he prefers to record live. This live recording of
six masterpieces by Mozart provides a lasting testimony to Buchbinder's
canon of Mozart interpretations in his 60th year - and Mozart's 250th.