The delight of this CD is the C Major Sonata, K330 which dates from
1779. The opening Allegro moderato is very brisk and lively with the
most sparkling finger work you could ever hope to hear. It is piano playing
at its superlative best. The andante cantabile is also played most
beautifully; it is sensitive, telling and wonderfully controlled. It passes
from F major into F minor and here the beauty is almost too much. The finale
is an infectious allegro; it is not ostentatious but charming and
hugely enjoyable. Careful listeners will detect ideas in this finale that
reappear in the K545 sonata, also in C major. It is a loving performance
and a rare one. When it is obvious that a pianist loves a piece it
shows, and this transcends skill and technique. This performance
has heart ... and it is a big, big heart.
The Fantasie, K475 is also played with perfection but it is an
unsatisfactory work. We have a long five minute brooding adagio to
begin with in which Mozart is experimenting at many modulations and a sort
of early chromaticism. There follows a short allegro which is a shade
too slow in this performance although the playing is detailed, accurate and
dependable. We are then plunged into an andantino, which is not very
inspiring music. This is followed by an energetic più allegro
section but this soon falls away to the opening adagio. Beautifully
played it certainly is but it is a 'stop and start' piece and does not hang
together. It is interesting in Mozart's work since it is so unlike him; it
is tedious and lacking in Mozartian charm.
Beethoven must have known the Sonata in C minor K457 as its first
movement is echoed in his own C minor sonata Op 13. The first movement
of the Mozart is beautifully balanced by Katin and the succeeding
adagio is peaceful and in this artiste's hands, has a fascinating
interplay. There are moments of great beauty but longer expanses of rather
The finale allegro assai does not work. It is not Peter's playing,
but weaknesses in Mozart's structure. There are composed long pauses. For
example, bar 24ff has five crotchet beats rest and a fermenta. This is repeated
seven times throughout the movement and in addition, we have other stops!
It does nothing for the continuity of the music. Added to this is the fact
that the adagio is marked in my score as minim = 69 or crotchet =
35 and the finale is dotted minim = 84 or crotchet = 28! A very slow allegro
The final sonata is the famous A major K331 sometimes called the Alla
Turca because of the last movement often played too fast and renowned
for its association with music to accompany silent movies. Katin shapes the
Theme and Variations of the first movement with detailed care. He
has a ravishing tone in Variation 4 and you will never hear it played
better. With all the repeats the movement is too long. After a rather plain
Minuet and Trio we launch into famous finale which really comes off!
It is a treat.
Katin's performances are so good that they do not need any advocacy. This
ornaments are perfection; his style immaculate; his detail rewarding. If
you admire Mozart you will only find that admiration enhanced further by
these rather special performances.