Recorded at Hallé St Peter’s, this concert is an intimate affair, opening with Mozart’s Piano & Wind Quintet. Paul Lewis and four Hallé members (oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon) give a collegiate and mellifluous account of this charming music, notable for Lewis’s gentle touch and shapely phrasing and the honeyed contributions of the wind-players.
Such sparkling and expressive music-making is followed by socially-distanced members of the Hallé strings (founded on three basses) tackling Stravinsky’s Concerto in D (1946), a Hollywood piece for Paul Sacher, hence its ‘Basle’ soubriquet. Directed from the violin by the Hallé’s leader (she’s standing on the podium) this is a game performance of music that needs rhythmic precision and swaying lyricism, both achieved, the melodious second movement particularly successful, so too the buzzing energy of the Finale.
To round things off, winds and strings united, Lewis (leaving the players to be their supportive selves) returns for a Mozart Piano Concerto, the A-major K414 (No.12), an especially fine piece, here sprightly yet poised in the first movement, with shadows of pathos that will come to the fore in the sublime Andante, tears then wiped away by the bouncy Finale.