> Mozart - Violin Sonatas Vol.9 [KM]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791)
Violin Sonatas
Mozart Edition vol. 9

CD1
VIOLIN SONATA in C major KV 6
VIOLIN SONATA in D major KV 7
VIOLIN SONATA in B flat major KV 8
VIOLIN SONATA in G minor KV 9
Total time: 53'29
Recording: 14/15 May 2001, Remonstrantse Doopsgezinde Gemeente, Deventer
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord
Rémy Baudet, baroque violin
CD2
VIOLIN SONATA in E flat major KV 26
VIOLIN SONATA in G major KV 27
VIOLIN SONATA in C major KV 28
VIOLIN SONATA in D major KV 29 3'20
VIOLIN SONATA in F major KV 30
VIOLIN SONATA in B flat major KV 31
Twelve Variations in G major for violin 7 piano- forte on the French song "La Bergère Célimène" KV 359 (374a) Six Variations in G minor for violin & pianoforte on the French song "Hélas, j'ai perdu mon amant", KV 360 (374b)
Total time: 69'47
Recording: Remonstrantse Gemeente Deventer, summer 2001
Rémy Baudet, baroque violin
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord
CD3
VIOLIN SONATA in F major KV 376
VIOLIN SONATA in F major KV 377
VIOLIN SONATA in B flat major KV 372
SONATA MOVEMENT in A major KV 402 (fragment)
SONATA MOVEMENT in C major KV 404 (fragment)
Total time: 61'09
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano
CD4
VIOLIN SONATA in G major KV 379
VIOLIN SONATA in E flat major KV 380
VIOLIN SONATA in F major KV 547
Total time: 69'22
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano
CD5
VIOLIN SONATA in A major KV 526
VIOLIN SONATA in C major KV 296
VIOLIN SONATA in A major KV 305
Total time: 63'49
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano
CD6
VIOLIN SONATA in E flat major KV 481
VIOLIN SONATA in C major KV 303
VIOLIN SONATA in G major KV 301
Total time: 54'01
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano
CD7
VIOLIN SONATA in B flat major KV 378
VIOLIN SONATA in E flat major KV 302
VIOLIN SONATA in E minor KV 304
VIOLIN SONATA in C major KV 403
Total time: 65'08
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano
CD8
VIOLIN SONATA in B flat major KV 454
VIOLIN SONATA in D major KV 306
Total time: 53'39
Recording: 1989
Salvatore Accardo, violin
Bruno Canino, piano 
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99721 [approx. 8 hours 10 min.]


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This ninth volume in the Brilliant Classics complete Mozart edition includes all of Mozart’s violin sonatas, including the earliest works composed by Wolfgang with his father Leopold, when Wolfgang was only seven years old.

The first disc of this recording contains some of Mozart’s earliest works, four sonatas which are not actually for violin and harpsichord, but for harpsichord with violin accompaniment. These are more harpsichord works, and it seems that the originals were written by Leopold from Wolfgang’s improvisations as a young child. The violin parts were added to the pieces later. These simplistic works are of interest because they are some of the earliest Mozart works, but musically have little to offer. It is good, though, to hear them played on harpsichord, and the performances of these works are fine, though at times the violin is a bit too loud, and takes centre-stage, while it should be merely accompanying the harpsichord, not leading it.

Sonatas KV 26 to 31 were written much later; Mozart was already 19, and the differences are obvious. More brilliant, more sparkling, the harpsichord expresses much more energy and lacks the heavy pedantic sound of the earliest works. In the Sonata in B flat major KV 31, one can hear the violin take its rightful place as a solo instrument, no longer just as accompaniment to the harpsichord. While this does not yet "sound" like Mozart, it does sound like a composer with something to say. The two sets of variations on French songs on this second disc are interesting - performed on violin and pianoforte, they begin very simply but develop into complex, virtuosic works. They are both fairly long - at 14 and 9 minutes - and get better as they go on. The first piano works written by Mozart, these are very well played, and the sound of the pianoforte is lovely.

The remainder of the set brings us to more familiar territory. Played on modern instruments, the rest of the sonatas follow Mozart’s career as he develops more complex and musically satisfying material.

These discs are very inconsistent - some of the performances are full of energy and vigour, and the allegro of the E flat major sonata KV 380 is a fine example of this: there is real drive and rhythmic energy. But the sound detracts from the performance; the violin is often too distant, and is drowned out at times by the piano. In the G major sonata KV 379, violinist Salvatore Accardo’s tone is off at several points; in many of the other works, he is way too far in the background, and in some he is much too present. At times, the two musicians sound as though they are each playing their parts separately, as if there is no cohesion between them.

But occasionally, when it gels, the music is wonderful. The andante of the A major sonata KV 526 is a beautifully sculpted soundscape, with subtle lines and phrasing, and very emotional playing by Bruno Canino on piano, and an excellent balance between the instruments. The slower movements seem more suited to these musicians, and the results are much more effective, but the faster sections are more confused and unbalanced.

Overall, this set has its highs and lows. The early sonatas, less interesting musically, are well performed and the instruments give them a truly "authentic" sound. The later sonatas, however, are too unequal, and the sound too unclear at times to deserve recommendation. Nevertheless, none of them are played poorly, and, given the bargain price of this set, as of the other Brilliant Classics set, this could be a choice for someone seeking completeness at a low cost.

Kirk McElhearn


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