“It appears that the great American pianist Ingrid Jacoby is a descendant of Frederick II of Prussia, the monarch who developed the theme on which Johann Sebastian Bach built the ‘Musical Offering’, and in fact a deep awareness of this doctrine can be found within her. A demonstration of this virtue is clearly perceptible on this CD in Ingrid Jacoby’s interpretations of Rondo K.382 and two Mozart piano concertos K.449 and K.595, the last written by the great composer, by whose works all pianists are measured and rightly so, because – along with the nine symphonies by Beethoven – Mozart’s piano concertos constitute a milestone in the history of Western music. There is no doubt that the concertos, written by the Maestro of Vienna, and contain so much beauty and such wisdom as to cover a vast territory of the eternal “adventures” of the human spirit.
The orchestra is ASMF, conducted by its Founder and Honorary President, Sir Neville Marriner, who records this CD with Jacoby on the eve of his ninetieth birthday. This recording, therefore, is a very simple but heartfelt tribute to one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, still very active and lavish with his great gifts to the audience. Marriner has always been a great advocate of the musical score, and this version of Mozart’s piano concertos is at the height of glory – the glory of both Marriner and Mozart. It is moving conducting of Mozartian phrasing, flowing with a supreme naturalness and simplicity that is granted only to the wise.
The pianist is celebrated, and she should be noted, indeed, for her thorough (but not pedantic) attitude to phrasing and articulation, showcasing the necessity and significance of even the slightest expression. There is, in fact, nothing in Mozart that is not necessary or that can be taken for granted, so with calmness the pianist coveys the sense of these masterpieces.”
“Ingrid Jacoby is a force to reckon with, her playing is reminiscent of the Russian Virtuoso Slatislav Richter such is the strength, variation of tone and technical genius which she exhibited in her performances of Bach-Busoni, Schubert and Mussorgsky on Wednesday evening in the Ugland Auditorium. The Bach-Busoni transcription for piano solo of Bach’s ‘Chaconne for Solo Violin’ I heard many times in the 80’s, it was a regular item on programmes at Dartington International Summer School: I remember loathing the transcription as it was so ponderous and heavy. Yet Ingrid Jacoby’s finesse and lightness was bewitching, also her ability to refine every voice was a singular and entrancing approach. The Schubert Impromptu in B-Flat was so refreshingly ‘cantabile’, every melody warmed and cared for, and the tone colours really put our Steinway Model D through its paces. However, nothing prepared us for the soundscape that Ingrid created while performing Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’. The orchestral version by Ravel has in many ways eclipsed Mussorgsky’s original solo piano version, but this performance bought the audience back to their senses, the original, as is often the case, is the more impressive work. The audience of the local community and Stoics were captivated by her continually changing palette of colours, dynamics and carefully wrought phrasing. The audience felt we were side by side with Mussorgsky as he wondered the gallery, enchanted by Hartmann’s pictures: what a very extraordinary evening!”
Stowe School, Buckingham, England