MOZART: Keyboard Music Volume 2 = Sonata in C, K. 330; Rondo in a, K. 511; Rondo in D, K. 485; Adagio in b, K. 540; Sonata in c, K. 457 – Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano – Harmonia mundi 907498, 70:42 ****:
The impish look on pianist Bezuidenhout’s face that graces the cover of this CD sums up his approach to fortepiano-Mozart: A sheer delight in the music coupled with an inebriated sense of spirit and line, always focused on the essence of communicability. The smiling inside photo only confirms the joy that this man takes in Mozart, and one feels that in every bar here.
Harmonia mundi does seem to be embarking on the complete solo keyboard music, a hope that I put forth in my review of the first volume of this series. The fact that this is on a fortepiano causes little concern for me; though I am a fervent advocate of modern Mozart, these reading are anything but anachronistic, and in sticking with my previous assertion that fortepianos sound better the closer they get to modern pianos, the Paul McNulty instrument used here (modeled after an 1802 Anton Walter & Sohn) has outstanding tonal properties that get the pianist’s points across easily.
The two sonatas in C major and C minor are two of the favorites in the Mozart canon. Each is delivered with panache and a basically optimistic tone that sets these readings apart from others. The smattering of late-in-life rondos and the one Adagio add to this very flavorful stew in a way that is starting to worry me—I find myself so taken with these readings, and the ones on Volume 1, that I might be nearing a primary recommendation regardless of instrument used, and for me that would be a bit of a watershed. Well, not yet. But it’s looking good…
— Steven Ritter
PARAY: Seven Piano Pieces – Flavio Varani, piano – MSR
Flavio Varani illuminates piano literature of conductor Paul Paray