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Pianist Alon Goldstein and the Fine Arts Quartet - CD Review, 27th of March 2024

In the second half of the 18th century, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart contributed significantly to the development of the Concerto for keyboard and orchestra. After 1781, a prolific and fruitful period of extraordinary artistic effervescence began for Mozart in Vienna. Towards the end of 1784 he created Concerto No. 19 in F major, which he presented in Frankfurt on the occasion of the coronation of Emperor Leopold II, and a year later he composed Concerto No. 25 in C major, impressive for its lyrical and dramatic qualities.

The two scores, in chamber arrangements by Romantic composer Ignaz Lachner, are included on an album recorded in July 2022 at the Dorothy Young Center for Arts in Madison and released at Naxos House on December 1st, 2023.

The disc was printed by the esteemed Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein with the Fine Arts Quartet of the United States of America, an ensemble of great artistic experience, founded in 1946 and currently composed of violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violist Gil Sharon and cellist Niklas Schmidt. Alongside these five instrumentalists, Lizzie Burns is also featured on these recordings on double bass, with arrangements of Mozart concertos for piano and string quintet.

The 54-year-old pianist Alon Goldstein teaches at prestigious institutions in Israel, the United States and Europe, and has also been active as a concert pianist - he has worked with the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the London and Israeli Philharmonics, the Philadelphia Orchestra and many other renowned ensembles.

The pianist also has a rich discography, among his most important projects being the world premiere recording, with the Fine Arts Quartet, of the complete Mozart Piano and Orchestra Concertos in chamber arrangements by Ignaz Lachner. Four discs from this collection have been released so far since 2015, the most recent being the album comprising Concertos Nos. 19 and 25.

About these pieces, Alon Goldstein says: "The two concerts are among my favourites. Both are characterized by virtuosity, bravura writing and showmanship. However, they also contain surprising passages of musical depth and absolutely magical moments. The piano score in these arrangements remains the same as in the original version, and Lachner has practically incorporated as much as possible of the wind instrument part in the string writing."

Larisa Clempuș