Mozart: Sonata for Piano and Violin K379 in G; Sonata for Piano and Violin K304 in E minor; Sonata for Piano and Violin K454 in B flat; 6 Variations in G minor K360

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Sonata for Piano and Violin K379 in G; Sonata for Piano and Violin K304 in E minor; Sonata for Piano and Violin K454 in B flat; 6 Variations in G minor K360
PERFORMER: Yuuko Shiokawa (violin), András Schiff (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 436 547-2 DDD
This disc will give great pleasure; but not especially because it allows us to hear Mozart’s ‘Concert Violin’ and Mozart’s fortepiano recorded in the room in which he was born. Even if this claim is entirely justified (which is doubtful), it self-evidently has nothing to do with authenticity; and a possible reservation is that it sounds as if it were recorded in Mozart’s bathroom. The playing may not please authenticists, but it is passionate in its advocacy of the articulately expressive qualities of these marvellous pieces, not quite yet ‘violin sonatas’ but keyboard sonatas with violin.

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The major advantage of using the fortepiano in particular is the more even and musically appropriate balance between instruments. What glorious music this is: the G major with its ripe opening slow movement and driving G minor Allegro; the haunting E minor with its Schubertian Trio; the ripe B flat from the Vienna years.

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Shiokawa is not afraid to use a little vibrato and plenty of bow, in an unaffected style warmly accepted by the gut strings; Schiff has no inhibitions about forceful attack and the instrument has immense colouristic range, from gentle glow to the highest brilliance. Julian Rushton