> MOZART Piano Sonatas Uchid [KM]: Classical Reviews- January 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonatas 5 CDs [328.16]
Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major, K. 279
Piano Sonata No. 2 in F major, K. 280
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B flat major, K. 281
Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major, K. 282
Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, K. 283
Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major, K. 284/205b
Piano Sonata No. 7 in C major, K. 309
Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310
Piano Sonata No. 9 in D major, K. 311
Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K. 330
Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major ("Alla Turca") K. 331
Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332
Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K. 333
Fantasia for piano in C minor, K. 475
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457
Piano Sonata No. 15 in C major ("Sonata semplice") K. 545
Piano Sonata No. 16 in B flat major, K. 570
Piano Sonata No. 17 in D major ("Trumpet", "Hunt") K. 576
Piano Sonata No. 18 in F major, K. 533/494  
Mitsuko Uchida
Rec: 1983 - 1987, Henry Wood Hall, London.
PHILIPS 468 356-2 [328.16]


Mitsuko Uchida is one of the finest interpreters of Mozart's piano music. She brings to this music a lightness and delicacy that fits it perfectly. This 5 CD set, which groups recordings made in the 1980s, includes all of Mozart's piano sonatas and one fantasia. This is not all of Mozart's piano music; one may regret that Phillips did not decide to go a bit further and include the rest of his piano music in this set.

Uchida plays with an incredible humility. Her performances are never overbearing - she offers subtlety and emotion rather than force. Both lyrical and expressive, she uses her brilliant technique to play the virtuoso parts of the sonatas, yet never seems to be showing off. Her nimble fingers give the most attractive ornaments to these pieces, yet, again, these ornaments are not gratuitous - they fit perfectly with the tone and colours of the works.

Uchida uses finely graded dynamics in all the sonatas - from the soft, smooth playing of the adagios to the more energetic scores of the andantes, nothing shocks in these recordings; the interpretation seems to fit ideally with the music. In addition, the perfectly transparent recording presents the piano flawlessly, neither too close nor too far. There is no artificial reverberation to mar the naked yet beautiful sound of this instrument.

Lyrically, Uchida's performances are also excellent. They carry the melodies without ever going too far, adding just the right amount of emotion but never crossing the border between playing and imposing an overly-personal vision.

This is perhaps one of the best sets currently available of Mozart's piano sonatas. Mitsuko Uchida has proven over the years to be one of the most expressive pianists for this music, and always plays the music for itself, not to stand out. One is moved by her humility, one is also touched by her subtlety. This is a brilliant set, one that every Mozartian should own.

Kirk McElhearn

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