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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Works for Two Pianos: Vol. 2

Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K448 (375a) (1781) [21:51]
Allegro and Andante (Sonata) in G major, K357 (497a; 500a) (1787/8+1791) [13:49]
Sonata in C major, K19d (1765?) [13:48]
Larghetto and Allegro for Two Pianos in E Flat major, K Deest (1781/83?) [8:07]
Adagio, K: 546 and Fugue in C Minor, K426 (adaptation for two pianos) (1782/1783?) [7:22]
Yara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen (piano)
rec: 10-12 July 2005, Konzerthaus Karlsruhe
SONY CLASSICAL 82876783632 [65:29]

There will be many discoveries and rediscoveries during Mozartís 250th year and this generally delightful disc - offering both - deserves a warm welcome.

The main piece Sonata K448 is well known and there have been some classic performances. It is a fine work with its strong powerful opening. Mozart uses the full force to create a large, quasi-orchestral sound. The Andante is one of his tender and intricately charming slow movements. These two players, a well-established team, produce a fine performance but miss that extra touch Suher and Guher Pekinel find in their 1991 recordings (Warner Mozart Edition 2564623362). In the final allegro Mozart uses the opportunity in his one and only genuine two piano sonata "to go down, all guns blazing"! Itís a lively rondo with an abundance of melodies and is very well played. In the Pekinel sisters I sense more "joie-de-vivre" and I find their sound easier on the ear. Turning to a famous older performance - Britten and Richter at Aldeburgh (Decca 466 821-2) - may be seen as a tad unfair but in that live BBC recording we are in a world of two world class players with complete empathy. Their Allegro is "seat of the pants" stuff and risks taken in a live setting come off. The Andante is in a class of its own. The finale is tremendous; an old recording but superb. This comes from a thoughtfully put together compilation which deserves a place on all music-loversí shelves. Their recording illustrates well where I find Tal and Groethuysen just a little clinical and missing that special frisson. I found this during their worthy Schubert series - worth getting if you can find the budget box which HMV sell at about £20.

I liked the Allegro and Andante which I confess I mistook for early Beethoven when I heard it on BBC Radio 3ís"In tune". Mozart apparently didnít finish it off but Julius Andre kindly did so in 1853! As the very detailed notes by Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiffert point out we have real Mozart up to bar 98 (3.56) in the Allegro and bar 160 (6.25) in the Andante. Volume 3 of this series will have Robert Levinís 2005 completion. It is a piece that I warmed to after two or three plays; I think all the main ideas are undoubtedly Wolfgangís.

There seem to be big questions as to the authenticity of Sonata in C major, K19d. Iím not totally convinced by the notes which justify its appearance on the basis that until the true author is found it belongs to Ďcompleteí recordings! It is a pleasant enough piece but little more. The Rondo is pleasant but thereís so much real Mozart to enjoy.

Larghetto and Allegro for Two Pianos in E Flat major is announced as a "World Premier recording". I really enjoyed this and if itís not all 100% Mozart it still makes for a good listen and must be fun to play!

Adagio, K546 and Fugue in C Minor K426 bring this disc to an interesting conclusion. Both Mozart and Beethoven were influenced by Bach and this Adagio and Fugue is quite well known as a piece for string quartet. It works fine as a piano duet and shows Mozartís affectionate tribute to an older and at the time neglected master. Mendelssohn would famously revive the St Matthew Passion in 1829. It has to be pointed out that the arrangement isnít by Mozart but is a transcription. Afterwards I played the Amadeus Quartetís apparently deleted version from 1979 where itís a bonus to their celebrated Schubert Quintet - with Pleeth. The difference is that the quartet sounds more like Mozart than the piano version but moderated hats off to Franz Beyer for the arrangement.

To sum up: this disc, at full price, will surely be most attractive to those interested in fragments of Mozartís duet oeuvre. It is an ideal disc for libraries. As Iíve tried to indicate this is a largely very enjoyable disc and the playersí version of the main piece is good but not the finest. The general collector will probably be drawn to the twelve disc Warner bargain box at about £30 (Mozart Edition 2564623362) which Iím currently reviewing.

My major conclusion here is that this disc offers fine playing and comprehensive notes but not for everyone or every day.

David R Dunsmore


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