MOZART 1 · 2 · 3 · 4

Some thoughts on my next recording

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first opera at the age of 11. I remember coming across this tidbit of information when I was a kid – probably around nine years old. To this day I recall my rather endearing relief at not having fallen behind Mozart quite yet: I still had a year or two to compose an opera of my own.

Needless to say none of the following 25 years were spent successfully writing an opera – or indeed writing anything worth the paper at all. Not only have I desperately fallen behind; I am now older than Mozart ever got the chance to be!

Nature may have denied me the grace of compositional genius, but I do have a certain talent for admiration, and although I can’t make any claim to originality in saying this: few composers have obsessed me more than Mozart. (In fact, my relative fluency in German and Italian stems solely from listening endlessly to his operas as a child.)

‘It possesses a rather extraordinary beauty, both in the overall composition and in the details of this weightless pianistic performance.’

— Artamag (on the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27 recording)

Set aside Mozart’s last piano concerto (which I committed to disc back in 2018), very little of this obsession has actually made it to my public programs or recordings. Probably partly out of fear: Mozart’s music seems to be about a certain state of mind (or maybe even human quality) way before being about matters of style. He’s the one composer where most of us genuinely, desperately worry if we’re worthy…

From this season onwards, I’ll try my luck more publicly. My following CD for Harmonia Mundi will indeed feature a crosscut of his output for piano and string instruments: a piano sonata, violin sonata, piano trio & piano quartet.

I’m honoured to be joined in this endeavour by Pierre Colombet, Eckart Runge and Maté Szücs.

Pierre, Eckart and Maté were shaped in the fascinating, aristocratic and mind-bogglingly difficult world of string quartets: Pierre as the primarius of the Ebène Quartet; Maté as the violist of the Keller Quartet (after quitting his job as first soloist at the Berlin Philharmonic); and Eckart as the cellist of the Artemis Quartet. Oh, and Eckart also was my chamber music teacher at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel back in the day – another reason why this endeavour ties so many strings together (no pun intended).

It’s about the best company one can dream of for a Mozartian adventure, and to say I’m looking forward is an understatement. The CD release is scheduled for March 2025, but in the meantime, you can join us on tour in the fall of this year!