Long before he had heard the whole of Mozart’s C Major Piano Concerto, Finnish jazz pianist Iiro Rantala had known the andante. “The second movement,” he explains, “is on the soundtrack to the James Bond Film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
It’s the scene where they show you the underwater city – and it’s my absolute favourite Bond film.” It was not until several years later that Rantala heard the whole concerto, KV 467, at a concert. When he did, he instantly fell in love with the piece. “The opening movement has something magical about it, it’s just a fantastic melody – and the music evolves as naturally as breathing.”
His enthusiasm is evident: “All the themes, harmonies and rhythms of the work are composed with such perfection, it is almost preternatural.” The pianist, who is also classically trained, had always dreamed of performing this concerto, so it was no surprise that when the opportunity came, he seized it with enthusiasm. It happened in 2017 at jazzahead! in Bremen in Germany. As a prominent representative of jazzahead!’s partner country Finland, Rantala was invited to devise the programme for the gala concert. And that much-lauded event is now available as a live recording.
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