Saturday, February 6, 2016

Christian Blackshaw in Mozart

Where was Christian Blackshaw all these years? He was born in 1949, and tutored by Clifford Curzon (who wasn't a person for taking on pupils, by all accounts), but absent from the concert platform for many years. It was only in 2011 that he returned, playing the Mozart piano sonatas in a series of concerts that resulted in one of the finest recordings of the sonatas in recent years. I innocently picked up one of the recitals on Radio 3 and was immediately arrested by the playing (superb control of a warm, rich sound palette) and the interpretation. 

But no, I'm not posting any of the sonatas. They are available commercially. But to give you a taste of the playing, I'm posting the magnificent quintet for piano and winds. I cannot recall ever loving playing a piece as much as this. Mozart was justly proud of it – he wrote to his father that it was the best thing he had ever written. I can only attribute its lack of popularity to the forces required. There are very few piano and wind quintets, and even fewer that are first rank masterpieces. 

This is quietly masterful playing. Just a single example: listen to the coda of the last movement. The piano figuration is simply perfectly judged – if it doesn't make you smile with pleasure, there's simply no hope for you.

Mozart : Quintet for piano and winds - Christian Blackshaw, Royal Northern Sinfonia Winds
Download from Mediafire


  1. I am so glad to see you posting again! This blog is a treasure

    I recently stumbled upon Blackshaw in my endless internet ramblings, and for me, he's quite a find. I know of hundreds of pianists, but I had never heard of him.

  2. thank you, i'm enjoying this performance quite a bit. -cheers, a.v.

    1. Hello Alfred, thank you so much for this blog! I just discovered it, and I am having so much fun exploring the recordings! I saw that you posted an Arcadi Volodos recording but the link no longer works, could you send this to me?

  3. My apologies, this post was intended for Ronan M, as you can tell I am fairly new to this :)


    Thank you greatly for taking the time and effort to share your love of music with us.

    Your generosity is very much appreciated.

    A multitude of knowledge that has been gained through exposure to your blogspot.

    Thank you.

    All the very best for 2017.


    Douglas (UK)