This disc is a reissue of recordings made ten
years or so ago, but which have been only fitfully available
since then. Roberte Mamou recorded the complete Mozart piano
sonatas on five CDs, and these are now available once again;
this is the last in the series. Their return to the catalogue
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. Not even the exact dates
and venue are given. The same slackness is true also of the
programme note, alas, which is far too short to give more than
the most rudimentary introduction to the music. In fact, in
this particular instance the sweeping generalisations don't
stand up at all well. This is a pity, since the performances
are interesting and sensitive.
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, phrasing the music with
care for Mozart's line and his music's thematic personality.
When these things feel as spontaneous and natural as they often
do here, the performer can take due credit.
These are Mozart's last four sonatas, so it
is to be expected the music is more sophisticated than ever
before. While these pieces are no more advanced than the great
C minor Sonata, K457, which was featured to pleasing effect
on disc 4 of Mamou's collection, they do challenge the pianist
in terms of subtlety to a greater extent than many of the other
works in the series. Perhaps that is why the results on this
particular disc are more mixed than among Mamou's other performances.
The standards are still, high, however, although
sometimes the interpretations don't seem to catch fire. Take
the F major Sonata, K533, for example, in which the central
Andante is taken at a lugubrious Adagio pace with robs the music
of life. Neither the structure nor the expression gains from
this approach, since a classical Andante should be quite quick
A similar complaint might be made against the
famous opening movement of the C major Sonata, K545 (TRACK 4,
0.00), although here the result is simply a slight lack of sparkle.
To be fair, clear articulation is a gain from this relatively
slow tempo for an Allegro, but try this in comparison with,
say, Andras Schiff (Decca), and it does seem somewhat pedestrian.
Perhaps the recorded sound contributes to the
lack of vitality in these two sonatas. It does seem less atmospheric
and warm than in many other performances in the series.
The last two sonatas, K570 and K576, are more
direct as interpretations. Both have that remarkable quality
of under-statement that was among Mozart's special gifts, and
such a style suits Roberte Mamou very well. She also paces the
music stylishly and pays careful attention to dynamic shadings.
(Try K570, finale: TRACK 9, 0.00 and K576, first movement, TRACK
10, 0.00) In this way she brings her Mozart survey to a pleasing
The reviews for this complete set of discs
of the Mozart Piano Sonatas can be seen here