New Century Chamber Orchestra Finds Gold in Their Silver Season Opener

Inon Barnatan
San Francisco Classical Voice

Much better in arrangement was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 in C Major, K. 415. Though it lacked the winds, brass, and timpani indicated in Mozart’s score, nothing was musically lacking about this performance with Inon Barnatan: The chamber setting ideally suited the piece’s sunny nature.

“Pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid,” is how Mozart once described the work, which rarely deviates from the mild. Mozart had initially envisioned a contrasting slow movement in the stern key of C minor, but, in the end, replaced it with a sweet aria in F major. And from his first entrance, Barnatan’s fluid and elegant playing let Mozart’s music sing. In the first movement, he played up the humorous appoggiatura figures without being hammy, and he imbued the second movement’s melodies with a natural sensitivity. In the third movement’s jarring diversions to C minor — salvaged fragments of that abandoned slow movement — he seemed to draw new depths out of the piano. 

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