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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Sonata for Piano and Violin in B flat major, K. 454 (1784) [21:08]
Sonata for Piano and Violin in G major, K. 379 (373a) (1781) [21:08]
Sonata for Piano and Violin in A major, K. 526 (1787) [22:56]
Christian Tetzlaff (violin); Lars Vogt (piano)
rec. 27-30 June 2011 (K. 454), 23-25 April 2012 (K. 379, K. 526), Sendesaal Bremen, Germany
ONDINE ODE 1204-2 [65:31]

Hamburg-born violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt out of Düren are regular recital partners. On this Ondine release they join an impressive list of partnerships to have recorded sets of Mozart violin sonatas. The duos that immediately spring to mind are Itzhak Perlman/Daniel Barenboim on DG, Anne-Sophie Mutter/Lambert Orkis on DG, Henryk Szeryng/Ingrid Haebler on Philips, Szymon Goldberg/Radu Lupu on Decca London and more recently Rachel Podger/Gary Cooper using period instruments on Channel Classics. Although there are many attractive and rewarding recordings I am surprised that these works are not heard far more often.
My reference books credit Mozart with composing between thirty-six to as many as forty-three sonatas for keyboard and violin. It’s from these sonatas that we witness the development of the modern violin sonata. Mozart’s first published sonatas, from 1764 when he was only eight years old, were composed for keyboard and violin accompaniment with the piano taking the spotlight. A later group composed in 1778 was still being described by Mozart as clavier sonatas even though the violin and the piano had essentially become equal partners.
This Ondine release opens with the Sonata for piano and violin in B flat major, K. 454 that Mozart wrote in Vienna for the violinist Regina Strinasacchi. Opening with a Largo - Allegro the introductory slow section saunters along without a care in the world. One immediately notices how the attractive and bright tone of Tetzlaff’s instrument, a modern violin by Bonn-based luthier Stefan-Peter Greiner, contrasts with Vogt’s rich piano timbre. From 1:32 the Allegro section is marked by Vogt’s brilliant piano playing; so forthright and lithe.
The earliest work is the Sonata for piano and violin in G major, K. 379 that bears a dedication to Josepha Auerhammer, one of his piano pupils. Highly appealing if a touch serious the opening Adagio features Tetzlaff’s sparkling playing yet still manages to communicate real sensitivity. This is certainly one of my favourite Mozart sonata movements and with the duo’s playing of such tenderness I found the music utterly absorbing. More gloriously writing in the memorable and tempestuous central Allegro produces impassioned and determined playing. The extended Finale:Andantino cantabile is lively, summery and highly melodic with the players radiating carefree abandon. Here Vogt’s piano part is the most prominent of the partnership.
The final work is the Sonata for piano and violin in A major, K. 526. Composed in 1787 it would be an understatement to say this was a fertile time for Mozart. The work sits in the Köchel catalogue between two masterpieces: the serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 and the opera Don Giovanni K. 527. It was also an emotionally challenging time for Mozart as prior to entering this sonata in his work-list Mozart had experienced the deaths of his father Leopold, his close friend August Clemens Graf Hatzfeld and the renowned viola da gamba player Carl Friedrich Abel. This virtuosic work opens with a Molto allegro producing vibrant playing with the piano sounding especially refulgent. As if reflecting the pain of Mozart’s grief the lengthy central Andante, although containing a singing quality, is serious in nature and tinged with melancholy. Written in sonata-rondo form the final Presto is taken energetically creating a strong sense of exuberance in music imbued with turbulence. Vogt’s piano part is especially dazzling and dominates writing that has the feeling of perpetual motion.
Tetzlaff and Vogt display strong character throughout yet they still evince warmth and sensitivity. The results are impeccable and dignified; teamwork and love for the music is at the heart of this. The sound quality is pleasingly clear with the piano set slightly further forward in the balance. No admirer of Mozart’s chamber music should hesitate with this Ondine release.
Michael Cookson