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Concert: Aurora Orchestra/ Collon at Kings Place, N1

05.10.17
Shai Wosner
The Times

You can devise a five-year project featuring Mozart’s 27 piano concertos in 25 concerts — and the Aurora Orchestra has done just that — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Mozart is going to steal the show. Even the mature grandees among the set would struggle next to the jolting carnival of the concerto by Ligeti, the late 20th century’s musical imp. What price, then, Mozart’s No 12, one of the early trio written in Vienna? That was this concert’s choice, as small and decorative as a snuff box.

The soloist, Shai Wosner, tripped through its pleasures fluently enough, with blissfully clear and bouncy accompaniment from a string quartet rather than Mozart’s original band of strings and winds. Yet memory of the concerto faded the moment Wosner tumbled into Ligeti’s vortex of jagged fortissimos, crazed polyrhythms and flying melodic debris, laid out before him in a crinkly, giant-sized score.

However mad the whirlpool, Wosner’s dexterity, flair and steely page-turner saw him through. The orchestra and the conductor, Nicholas Collon, kept a fierce grip too, as audible in the rowdiest helter-skelter as in the second movement’s drooping phrases (it’s as if the music is melting). This was a triumphant performance.
 
Read the rest of the review here