Mozart Piano Concertos, K.453 and K.491

Available on CD and digital download

St Louis Symphony Orchestra

Orli Shaham piano

David Robertson conductor

Orli Shaham revels in the theatrical richness and breath taking invention of Mozart's Piano Concertos joining forces with David Robertson and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for this studio recording of No.17 in G Major, K.453 and No. 24 in C minor, K.491.

The underlying inspiration for Orli Shaham's recording of Mozart concertos is her passion to record music that has spoken to her, and driven her, again and again throughout her career. She has chosen to recorded these 2 concertos as standout as emblems of the extraordinary theatricality of Mozart's mature concertos, also highlighting the spirit of dialogue between soloist and orchestra. Each concerto concludes with a final movement cast in variation form, the only 2 examples in Mozart's piano concertos.

"The hope is to be able to highlight some aspect of the work that hasn't been illuminated in that way before," the pianist comments. "The works are so rich and there are so many things you could bring out, there's no way you could bring them all out in a single performance." The original score of K.491 requires the soloist to decipher the composer's intentions and make choices about which notes or even passages to play. "The manuscript shows several iterations that he tried," explains Orli Shaham. "Sometimes it's a leading tone this way, and sometimes it's a leading tone going the other way. Sometimes he crosses it out. It's the only concerto I know where you sometimes will get four lines of what the piano is supposed to be playing."

'Just about everything in this husband-and-wife Mozart concerto collaboration is ideal… the microphone placement captures Orli Shaham’s beautifully regulated Steinway and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in perfect balance ... and more importantly, the chamber-like sonic perspective extends to the music making … Like Casadesus, Shaham favors Saint-Säens’ flashy yet effective cadenza for the C minor K. 491’s first movement, but plays it with more authority and force ...The booklet contains an extensive discussion with Shaham, Robertson, and scholar Elaine Sisman that delves into fascinating performance-related issues and historical perspectives. Strongly recommended.’


'Shaham's performances of both concertos are thoughtful and polished, the pianist adding a degree of warmth to her interpretations that sets them apart.'

Classical Candor

What is striking about the Orli Shaham/David Robertson collaboration, is how well it communicates feelings and expressions that seem "Mozartean" even though there is nothing historically accurate about the recording at all. The orchestra is too large for Mozart's time, the piano far too big and resonant, the cadenzas not at all in Mozart's style (especially in the first movement of Concerto No. 24), and Shaham's playing is far too focused on the emotionally expressive passages... the recording is absolutely first-rate. Shaham and Robertson clearly have deep feelings for Mozart that they know how to translate into feelings to be shared with an at-home audience. It is extraordinarily difficult to listen to this recording without giving it full attention... Shaham and Robertson connect with tremendous skill in performances that are fully and beautifully integrated from start to finish.'

Mark Estren transcentury/


 Classic FM UK Album of the Week 08/19/2019

'American pianist Orli Shaham takes on Mozart’s showy No. 17 and 24 concertos...this is the first studio recording released in over 15 years by the (St. Louis Symphony) Orchestra – we think this gem makes it very much worth the wait … and a very worthy Classic FM Album of the Week.’

Classic FM

Embracing the light and dark of Mozart’s Piano Concertos, ...enchants with tempos that mould appreciably this expressive music, giving it time and richness of sound (superbly recorded…). Orli Shaham (sister of Gil) and David Robertson are at-one interpretatively... and the SLS members are stylish and sympathetic confreres.

The opening of K453, while poised, is also infectious in its spirit, delightfully detailed… K491… the orchestral introduction finds emotional urgency, Shaham speaks of isolation in her initial appearance; thus an admirable tension is produced, theatre and Innigkeit intertwined, the aural equivalent of a page-turner. The first-movement cadenza is by Saint-Saëns…in the booklet, you will find there an extensive three-way conversation between pianist, conductor and Elaine Sisman – the latter a “bona fide academic authority on Mozart’s music ... [and who] thinks Mozart is really cool...”. He is when performed like this.

Classical Source