Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonata in A minor K310 (1778) [20:37]
Piano Sonata in C Major K330 (1783) [23:01]
Piano Sonata in C minor K457 (1784) [22:00]
Fantasia in C minor K475 (1785) [12:18]
Daniel Levy (piano)
rec. Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London, 2009
EDELWEISS EDEM 3366 [78:35]
Daniel Levy’s repertory is impressively large, spanning the disciplined contrapuntal music of Bach through the highly colourful romanticism of Liszt to the heated fantasies of Scriabin’s imagination. Levy is a meticulous pianist who is totally dedicated to his art. His recordings are published under his own label, Edelweiss, allowing him artistic choice over venues and support team.
Mozart clearly enjoys a special place in his affections and this piano sonata programme has been cleverly conceived. The notes include the pianist’s short thought-provoking essay on Mozart. In it he quotes Mozart himself who tries to explain his inspiration and modus operandi: “... my method of composing? ... when I feel in fine shape ... whether I am in a carriage ... or taking a walk ... or at night if I cannot fall asleep; that is when a stream of ideas comes to me. Whence? How? I do not know. I preserve those that I like in my head and I hum them ... Little by little I find the way to obtain a coherent whole from these fragments, following the requirements of the counterpoint or of the timbres of the instruments.” Mozart goes on to comment, “My brain fires up more and more, and if I am not disturbed, my theme is amplified, defined and developed, to be raised complete and fulfilled entirely before me, totally finished, so that I can embrace it at a gaze as if it were a painting or a statue. I do not listen to the parts of the orchestra one after another, but all together. I can express it with so much joy. I feel as if I am living a beautiful dream. But why do I not forget it as dreams are forgotten? Perhaps this is the greatest gift for which to be grateful to the divine creator.”
Mozart’s Sonata in A minor K310 was composed in Paris in the Spring of 1778. Levy expressively imbues the first Allegro maestoso with restless agitation but not without a sense of the regal. The following Andante cantabile sings along mournfully but sweetly and discreetly while the sunlit Presto scampers along merrily. The Sonata in C major K.330 has a relaxed Allegro moderato and the central Andante cantabile sings in calm introspective melancholy. The final Allegretto is spun and laced with joy and grace.
The Fantasia in C minor is cast in a darker hue with not a few hints of anger and fiery determination, a mood that alternates with material of charm and benevolence. One wonders if there was any external influence attached to this Fantasia. It was dedicated to Teresa von Trattner and was published together with the Sonata in C minor K457 under the opus no. XI (K475). The K457 Sonata shares the same key as the Fantasia, C minor. Both works are similar in atmosphere – passionate, vehemence vying with tenderness. Quoting Levy again, “Many thinkers have seen in these works the glimmer of the Masonic horizon present in Mozart, of a new man, more fraternal and in a fairer world. In fact two months after the composition of the Fantasia, Mozart composed the Masonic Funeral Music K477 in the same tonality of C minor which when listened to, can exhibit a retrospective illumination of the works K457 and K475.”
Inspired Mozart played with élan.
Inspired Mozart played with élan.