Schubert sonatas

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Piano solo and duet
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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonatas: No. 5 in G, K283/K189h (1775) [17:08]; No. 7 in C, K309/K284b (1777) [18:56]; No. 9 in D, K311/K300i (1778) [18:30]; No. 8 in A minor, K310/K300d (1778) [6:15]. Rondo in D, K485 (1786) [6:22].
Martino Tirimo (piano).
rec. Mendelssson Saal, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Germany in July and August 2005. DDD

Volume 2 of Martino Tirimo’s Mozart piano sonata cycle is significantly more enjoyable than Volume 1. It contains a couple of better-known Sonatas and the increased ‘meat’ has clearly inspired the pianist to finer things. There are still a couple of drawbacks though. Tirimo’s take on this music is always serious. If the finger-work can sometimes sparkle, it rarely if ever actually smiles. The first movement of K273 exemplifies this to perfection. Every care is taken over the score, but the spirit is lost. Perhaps unsurprisingly the delicate dialogues of the Andante work much better and all credit to Tirimo for actually choosing a true ‘Presto’ for the finale; it is identifiably this tempo indication.
The C major, K309 is given the grandest of starts. Contrasts are charming. Strangely, in this case it is the slow movement that is the problem. The marking is ‘Andante un poco Adagio’ yet it seems very much on the Adagio part of the scale. There is no denying the emotion of the performance, though. The finale is ultra-delicate, with a nicely balanced right-hand. Again it is a sense of play that is lacking.
Tirimo puts K311 next, a bright D major work. The fortes in the slow movement come across a little harshly - a shame as the pianos are charming. Again, the finale could sparkle more. In the famous A minor Sonata, Tirimo comes up against Lipatti at Besançon and Arrau, famously on Philips and much less famously on a valuable 1964 CBC telecast now on DVD, VAI 4388 coupled with Beethoven Op. 111. Tirimo’s first movement is rather march-like but does not sound too A minorish. If the Andante con espressione could have more charm, the finale is nicely restless.
The D major Rondo is a lovely little piece, undemanding yet perfectly proportioned.  It is a lovely way to close the disc.
The recording is excellent and natural; the Steinway ‘D’ is clearly a superb instrument - tuned by Stephan Wittig.
Colin Clarke


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