BBC Music Magazine - - Chamber Reviews -

Vi­o­lin Sonatas: No. 21 in E mi­nor, K304; No. 23 in D, K306; No. 35 in A, K526

Is­abelle Faust (vi­o­lin),

Alexan­der Mel­nikov (fortepi­ano) Har­mo­nia Mundi HMM 902360 65:50 mins

Three re­mark­ably dif­fer­ent works make up the first vol­ume in this sur­vey of Mozart’s Sonatas for fortepi­ano and vi­o­lin. The D ma­jor K306 could be de­scribed as a kind of hy­brid Sonata Con­certo with many vir­tu­osic flour­ishes in the open­ing move­ment, an op­er­at­i­cally con­ceived slow move­ment, and an Al­le­gretto fi­nale which fea­tures a daz­zling ex­tended ca­denza for both in­stru­ments. In sharp con­trast, the two move­ments of the E mi­nor Sonata, K304, are in­tro­verted and tinged with melan­choly. After this comes the A ma­jor K526, Mozart’s fi­nal work in this genre, com­posed the same year as Don Gio­vanni and in­fused with pas­sages of in­tri­cate con­tra­pun­tal ar­gu­ment that re­flect the com­poser’s grow­ing fas­ci­na­tion for the mu­sic of Bach and ★an­del.

Both play­ers on this warmly recorded re­lease re­spond to the dis­tinc­tive sound­worlds of these three works with per­for­mances of great sub­tlety and flex­i­bil­ity. As in her record­ings of the Mozart Vi­o­lin Con­cer­tos, Is­abelle Faust uses vibrato ex­tremely spar­ingly, but still man­ages to cre­ate an as­ton­ish­ing va­ri­ety of tim­bres. Whereas many vi­o­lin­ists opt for a warmer sound in the E mi­nor Sonata, Faust fol­lows Mozart’s mark­ing of sotto voce to the let­ter in the qui­eter pas­sages, thereby mak­ing the un­ex­pected forte erup­tions in the first move­ment sound all the more pow­er­ful.

Alexan­der Mel­nikov, per­form­ing on a mod­ern re­pro­duc­tion of an An­ton Wal­ter fortepi­ano, also max­imises the tex­tu­ral va­ri­ety in Mozart’s writ­ing, some­times opt­ing for bril­liance in ar­tic­u­la­tion in vir­tu­oso pas­sages and in the slow move­ments pro­ject­ing a won­der­fully sus­tained cantabile tone. Al­most all re­peats are ob­served en­abling both per­form­ers to or­na­ment their melodic lines in a cre­ative and spon­ta­neous man­ner. Erik Levi



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