This disc is a reissue of recordings made ten
years ago and has been fitfully available since then. Roberte
Mamou recorded the complete Mozart piano sonatas on five CDs,
and 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 and the background and music
are disposed of within four short paragraphs. The notes we have
are rather good; in fact, offering several useful insights in
a fluently written style. There just needs to be more substance
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
The D major Sonata, K284 was written in Salzburg
in 1774, when Mozart was eighteen. Perhaps he intended to perform
it in Munich, when he went there for the premiere of his opera
La Finta giardiniera. The most striking feature of this
piece is the extended finale in variation form, lasting some
19 minutes out of nearly thirty minutes for the whole piece.
This is Mozart's longest sonata to date and how to maintain
the tension across the time span is clearly an issue for the
performer. Mamou is pretty successful, although in truth the
music itself does not entirely justify its indulgent scale.
A wider range of phrasing and associated dynamic shadings might
have helped in this regard; but perhaps the point is the nature
of the music itself. Mozart would achieve greater mastery of
variation form in his Viennese years.
The jewel in the crown of this particular collection
is the performance of the C major Sonata, K309. This dates from
rather later, from the winter of 1777-8, when Mozart was at
Mannheim en route for Paris. His intended audience is therefore
unclear, but no matter, since the music is so good. Here the
three movements achieve a more satisfying balance, with a charming
and sensitive Andante at the centre.
The Rondeau finale, an Allegretto grazioso,
displays the merits of Mamou's Mozart playing particularly well,
and of the recording too. The shaping and phrase structure seem
just right, projecting a natural and flowing momentum which
is quite unforced. The dynamic shadings are sensitive and perfectly
judged, so too the clean articulation of the tricky series of
scales which provide the virtuoso element in this delightful
With the inclusion of an equally pleasing performance
of the D major Sonata, K311, this disc is a most welcome addition
to the catalogue.