Mozart: Violin Sonatas K28, K30, K304 & K526

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Violin Sonatas K28, K30, K304 & K526
PERFORMER: Pinchas Zukerman (violin), Marc Neikrug (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 60742 2 DDD
This is the fourth instalment in Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug’s complete series of the Mozart violin sonatas. Complete is the operative word, as it includes not only the generally accepted canon of works, but also the very early sonatas for piano with violin accompaniment which Mozart wrote as an infant prodigy. The two such pieces recorded here (K28 & 30) come from a set of six composed in The Hague, when Mozart had just passed his tenth birthday, and they sit rather oddly between two of the most beautiful among his mature violin sonatas. The two-movement K304 is Mozart’s only work in the key of E minor, and it has a uniquely haunting atmosphere of melancholy and nostalgia; while the A major Sonata K526 is the most sparkling and brilliant of all his violin sonatas.

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Zukerman plays this music with unfailing warmth and musicianship, and the recorded sound is first class. All of which makes Marc Neikrug’s four-square, unimaginative playing the more unfortunate. His contribution to the opening movement of K304 is heavy and plodding, while his jerky rubato in the radiant E major episode of its finale sounds imposed from without, rather than felt from within. Misha Donat