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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonatas, Volume 3

Sonata in A minor, K310
Sonata in C major, K330
Sonata in A major, K331

Roberte Mamou (piano)
Rec 1991, Ghent
PAVANE ADW 7248 [59.13]

Experience Classicsonline

This disc is a reissue of recordings made ten years ago but has been only intermittently available since then. Roberte Mamou recorded the complete Mozart piano sonatas on five CDs, and all five of these are now available once again. Their return is to be welcomed, since the performances are stylistically sensitive and the recordings generally natural and clear.

Mamou plays a modern instrument rather than a fortepiano, but the insert notes tell us precious little about the circumstances of the recording. The same is true of the programme note, alas, which describes the background and music of all three sonatas within three short paragraphs. Moreover the danger of easy generalisation and enthusiastic over-statement is not avoided: 'In the summer of 1778, Mozart arrived in Paris with his mother who, sick and abandoned by her son, died on July 3rd. This is doubtless the explanation for all the dramatic force of the first of these 'Parisian' sonatas, in A minor.' Surely this is a case of two plus two being made to make five. There is also a consistent error in the key ascribed to the famous A major Sonata, K331, which is wrongly labelled as being in E throughout.

The Tunisian-born pianist Roberte Mamou is based in Europe, and has worked mostly in Belgium. She has just the right manner for this repertoire, always seeming to choose an appropriate tempo and to phrase with care for the musical line and the thematic personality. When these things feel as spontaneous and natural as they do here, the performer can take due credit.

The A minor Sonata, K310, is a masterpiece typical of Mozart's ability to make a penetrating musical statement with minimum strain. Mamou, as usual, gets the tempo just right in the first movement (TRACK 1, 0.00), allowing the obsessive rhythmic cell to make its nagging point. I am less convinced by the succeeding Andante cantabile, however, in which her phrasing takes little account of Mozart's 'con espressione' marking (TRACK 2, 1.30), with somewhat prosaic results.

The performances of the other two sonatas, K330 and K331, are more completely successful, developing a pleasing balance of lyricism and rhythmic activity all to good stylistic effect. The opening Allegro moderato of the C major Sonata (TRACK 4, 0.00) is a fine example of her special understanding of this repertoire. She also shapes the bold opening movement variations of K331 in such a way that they feel like a whole unit rather than a succession of miniatures. Moreover her relatively slow tempo for the central minuet makes a nice balance between this and the final 'Turkish' rondo, which is delightfully pointed in its phrasing.


Terry Barfoot

See also volumes one and four



 



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