MOZART: Violin Sonata in C Major, K. 303; Violin Sonata in D, K. 7; Violin Sonata in G, K. 301; Violin Sonata in F, K. 30; Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 481 – Rachel Podger, baroque violin/ Gary Cooper, fortepiano – Channel Classics

by | Nov 24, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

MOZART: Violin Sonata in C Major, K. 303; Violin Sonata in D,
K. 7; Violin Sonata in G, K. 301; Violin Sonata in F, K. 30; Violin
Sonata in E-flat Major, K. 481 – Rachel Podger, baroque violin/ Gary
Cooper, fortepiano (Vol. 2 of series) – Channel Classics Multichannel
SACD CCS SA 22805,  73:20 ****:

There seems to a surge of academic and musical interest in what used to
pass as Mozart’s juvenilia: scholars are still unsure of how much help
father Leopold Mozart provided to his young son in order to create a
suitable repertory for the wunderkind’s tour to Paris (1764) to perform
for King Louis XV. The influence of Johann Christian Bach and the
galant style permeate the youthful sonatas, conceived as klavier
sonatas with violin accompaniment. Sister Nannerl comments in her
notebook that the music is in “no way inferior to the music of a full
grown man.” In the gorgeous opening Adagio for the K. 30 Sonata in F,
written for Princess Caroline van Nassau-Weilberg, we hear something of
Gluck’s Orfeo, the plaint to the “Larvae,” combined with an elegant
cantabile from a piano concerto. Mozart is 22 at the time of his
writing the Sonata in C, K. 303 and Sonata in G, K. 301. By 1778 Mozart
is a past master of the galant style, and his ability to sustain rapid
figures and to make operatic arias in the course of supplemental themes
provides a paragon of compositional elegance. The Mozart of 1785 who
composed the K. 481 has entirely matched the violin and piano; and the
dramatic impulses, balanced as they are by arioso and presto filigree,
will affect a certain Beethoven. The Adagio of K. 481 is among the
masterpieces of Mozart’s violin sonata output, and it several times
drew conductor George Szell to find a violinist with whom he could
perform it.

I must confess I had been perfectly prepared to dismiss this disc as
just another round of Mozart sonatas by predictably adept young
talents. Wrong! Recorded in 2004 in surround sound, the sonority of the
two instruments–the light action of the fortepiano, a reproduction of
an Anton Walter instrument from 1795, does not lessen the burnished,
rich sound-blends most felicitously, with Podger’s stepping in and out
of the evolving musical tissue like a nimble dancer. The entire range
of performances enjoys a fresh, brisk ambiance, a feeling of
improvisation much in keeping with the composer’s original intent as
audition pieces to impress royal patrons. The E-flat Sonata, however,
stands apart as the aesthetic experience par excellence, a work whose
nebulous genesis rivals the origin of the last symphonies. This pair of
young artists projects the piece in its profound transparency, a
classical column reverberating with romantic energies.

–Gary Lemco

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