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
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
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.