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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat major, K364 [29:39]
Concertone for 2 violins, oboe and cello in C major, K190 [26:18]
Pierre Amoyal (violin) Yuko Shimizu Amoyal (viola)
Ami Oike (violin: K190), Fulvia Mancini (cello), Andrey Cholokyan (oboe)
Camerata de Lausanne/Pierre Amoyal
ec. Salle de Musique, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, 12-15 April 2012
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 652158 [56:18]

Mozart, the child prodigy par excellence, was a fine violinist and composed his first works for that instrument at the staggering age of six. No one can doubt that these were undistinguished offerings, but at that age what do you expect? However, roll the clock on to 1779 and the twenty-three year old now had the maturity and experience to compose his Sinfonia Concertante K364, a masterpiece and a work with a wealth of melodic invention. Here is a composition that was a fusion of the Austro-German symphony and the Italian Concerto. Mozart gives the violin and viola equal status. Amoyal’s remarks in the notes aptly sum it up when he comments that this is not a concerto for two instruments, but ‘a symphony in the context of which two soloists converse with profound tenderness and extreme sensitivity.’
 
Five years earlier in 1774, Mozart had composed his Concertone in C major, K190. This has never had the enduring popularity of K364, but is paired with it on several recordings. I first got to know these two works on the EMI Oistrakh version of 1972, now in the 17CD Oistrakh Complete EMI Recordings box (50999 2 14712 2 3). Another satisfying coupling comes from Perlman and Zukerman on DG (415 486). The Concertone could, in a sense, be called a quadruple concerto; as well as two violins, the solo oboe and cello feature prominently.
 
The Camerata de Lausanne is a conductorless string ensemble, founded by Pierre Amoyal. He plays solo violin in both works, and is joined by his wife Yuko Shiizu Amoyal on the viola for the K364, and by Ami Oike on the second violin for K190.
 
I enjoyed this CD very much. The musicians deliver in captivating style with polished and focused playing. Amoyal and his fellow soloists approach the works as dialogues, with the instruments interweaving and blending with exquisite refinement. With buoyant tempi, Amoyal coaxes the players to deliver results that are rhythmic and well-articulated. All the while, there is the feeling of spontaneity.
 
With excellent liner-notes, and a contribution from Amoyal himself, this is worth exploring. The Concertone definitely deserves wider circulation as it is deeply rewarding.
 
The Salle de Musique provides a warm, sympathetic acoustic.
 
Stephen Greenbank