> Mozart Piano Sonatas Vol 4 Mamou ADW7249 [TB]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonatas, Volume 4

Sonata in F major, K332
Sonata in B flat major, K 333
Fantasia in C minor, K475
Sonata in C minor, K457

Roberte Mamou (piano)
Rec 1991, Ghent
PAVANE ADW 7249 [73.50]


Experience Classicsonline

This disc is a reissue of recordings made ten years ago but which has been only fitfully available since then. Mamou recorded the complete Mozart piano sonatas on five CDs, and these are now available once again. Their return is welcome, 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 is far too short to give more than the most rudimentary introduction to the music. This is a pity, since the performances are so pleasing.

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.

A gap of several years separates the first two items on this programme from the last two. During those few years Mozart made the significant move to Vienna, where he was based for the last ten golden years of his tragically short life. There is no problem with the coupling as offered, however, since Mamou has recorded all the sonatas in virtually chronological order, and all five discs in the series are generously filled.

The F major and B flat major Sonatas from 1778 have much in common, from the stylistic point of view, although their individual personalities are not to be denied. The differences are felt most strongly in the slow movements, the one a true Adagio (TRACK 2, 0.00), the other a flowing Andante cantabile (TRACK 5, 0.00). Mamou characterises these things to perfection, only in matters of atmosphere might the performance have been enhanced; this seems a rather dry acoustic, as recorded.

The addition of the C minor Fantasia to a cycle of sonatas might at first sight seem an indulgence. Far from it, however, since the music is inextricably linked with the Sonata in the same key, and the two are often performed together. (They are just as often performed separately.) The Fantasia, with its more wide ranging emotional world, is a long way removed from the poise and elegance of so many of the earlier sonatas. Few of Mozart's Viennese compositions, moreover, are more turbulent in mood. More famous artists have recorded this music, of course, and to great effect too: András Schiff (Decca) is wonderfully atmospheric, for example, Daniel Barenboim (EMI) more romantically expressive. But Mamou gives enormous satisfaction, and her view is certainly eloquent, her judgements soundly made (try TRACK 7, 0.00). Above all she succeeds in communicating the fact that Mozart's creative personality had moved on to another plane.

The same might be said of the Sonata in the same key of C minor. The musical language has great depth and intensity, the virtuosity used to expressive purpose. Mamou communicates very directly, and the recording has a pleasing ambience. This is another success in this impressive series.

Terry Barfoot


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