MOZART'S Pianoforte Concerto in D minor (KV 466) is generally regarded
as his greatest for pianoforte. Bruno Walter returns to the practice of Mozart's day by playing the solo part and conducting the orchestra (the Vienna Philharmonic). This work dates from about 1780 and was first played by the composer himself at a series of concerts given in Vienna. Mozart was then about 24 years old, but his powers were finely matured, which was just as well when we consider the shortness of his days. The H.M.V. Album is DB 3273-76 and the records display the delightful, melodious character of this Concerto.
Toscanini conducts the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra in a perfect performance of the Overture La Scala di Seta (The Silken Ladder) by Rossini, DB 3541.
Wilhelm Backhaus gives an extremely fine performance of the last of Beethoven's PF Sonatas; here the composer returns to his favourite key, C minor, often associated with his personal tragedies; but what a long way he has travelled from the Pathetique Sonata in C minor or even from the Fifth Symphony! This last extension of Beethoven's style, and in Op. 111 we savour it to the full, is one of the miracles of music, and one of its mysteries, too. To what strange world are we transported?
Hcifetz, who plays the Second Violin Concerto of Prokofieff, regards it as one of the six greatest concertos for the violin. It was composed in 1935 and first heard in England last January at Queen's Hall. These records, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, are DB 3604-6.
C. G. M.