Saturday, 21 May 2016

Kristof Barati in Mozart Concertos

Kristof Barati is a very fine violinist, as he has proved many times since winning the Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels in 1997. Being a Hungarian violinist living in Hungary, he is perhaps not as well known internationally as he ought to be. His recorded opus to date, however, is extensive – and enjoyable. The latest addition is two hours of Mozart violin concertos and a few pieces for orchestra, recorded live in Hungary last year and just issued by Brilliant Classics in a well recorded and low priced double CD album. I enjoyed it immensely.

Barati is a brisk player in Mozart, particularly in the first movements of the concertos. A little perturbed at first, I soon began to enjoy the image of a young Mozart flaunting his prowess on the violin. One does not always enjoy young Mozart for violin virtuosity, but one does here; Barati is always interesting. I also much approve of his brief cadenzas (Joachim's in the first movement of K.219); often violinists choose cadenzas that go on and on and thus interrupt the flow of the music. Not so here.

The Hungarian Chamber Orchestra (directed by Barati) contributes appropriately. Inevitably in two hours of live recording there are a few bits and pieces that would have been re-done and patched in a studio. Such things rarely worry me. I have recently enjoyed Mozart concertos played – very differently – by Arabella Steinbacher, and by Katrin Scholtz. There is room for everyone in Mozart interpretation, but I'll always enjoy coming back to Barati's brisk, virtuosic versions that hold my interest from the first bar onwards, even in this music I have known backwards for around six decades.

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