Twenty years ago I got hooked on Mozart and Schubert listening to Paul Badura-Skoda’s recordings on the (now defunct) Westminster label. Since then other, better pianists have introduced me to more interesting vistas, but Badura-Skoda’s thoughtful, always proper interpretations have stayed in my mind. During the 70s the Austrian pianist cultivated a loyal following while in residence at the University of Chicago; now he’s back for a brief visit to help celebrate the U. of C.’s centennial and the Mozart bicentennial with a pair of all-Mozart concerts. Tonight with the U. of C. Symphony Orchestra (led by Barbara Schubert), Badura-Skoda will perform the Piano Concerto no. 25. Tomorrow in a solo recital, he’ll play, back-to-back, Fantasia in C-Minor and the C-Minor Sonata. The fantasy, intended as an introduction to the sonata, is one of my favorites–an inexplicable, unique work, seamlessly constructed yet exuding an air of impetuous improvisation. Badura-Skoda may not be able to bring off the passion and the swagger, but you can count on him for an utterly intelligent approach. Tonight, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 5706 S. University; 702-8484. Saturday, 8 PM, Goodspeed Recital Hall, University of Chicago, 5845 S. Ellis. 702-8068.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Werner Neumeister.