Stories » Simone Dinnerstein: Mozart in Havana - buoyant, robust and elegant / theguardian

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Simone Dinnerstein: Mozart in Havana - buoyant, robust and elegant / theguardian

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Not yet a decade old, comprising professionals and students, the Havana Lyceum Orchestra doesn't have the venerable history or the fancy instruments of their Strad-toting counterparts on the Mozart recordings you already own. Yet this disc of two of Mozart's best-known piano concertos – made in the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri in the Cuban capital – is well worth shelf space. Nothing here sounds hackneyed; encouraged by the conductor José Antonio Méndez Padrón, the orchestra plays with winning buoyancy, freshness and simple elegance. The sound is robust, blended rather than transparent, and may not appeal to period-performance devotees, yet it's never too heavy. It's a good match for the playing of US pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who was taught by a Cuban émigré. Her interpretations are graceful, lyrical and mostly unfussy, although the un-Mozartian cadenzas by Busoni and Lasser stick out a bit, however nicely she plays them.

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