Some years ago András Schiff made some recordings on Mozart’s own piano in Salzburg, but he has until now been firmly of the view that he preferred modern pianos to period instruments. So this two-disc set represents a real departure for him, exploring the wonderful colours of a Franz Brodmann fortepiano of 1820. Schiff conjures wisp-like sonorities and never makes an ugly sound, and the Moments musicaux crackle with incisive effects. The smaller pieces work best, while the sonatas are quite difficult to sustain. The difference from a contemporary keyboard (where perfect blend is prized above all) is that here the registers all speak with their own voice: the antiphonal treble and bass with rippling chords in between, in the first F minor impromptu is a revelation.
Nicholas Kenyon is managing director of the Barbican Centre and was director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007. He wrote the Faber Pocket Guide to Mozart