Mozart: Violin Sonatas (complete)

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WORKS: Violin Sonatas (complete)
PERFORMER: Karl Suske (violin), Walter Olbertz (piano)
Karl Suske’s and Walter Olbertz’s set of Mozart’s sonatas for keyboard with violin excludes the 16 juvenile works, but includes the rest, from the Mannheim and Paris sonatas of 1778 onwards, as well as the two sets of variations composed in 1781. The recordings come from the old East Germany and were made around the late Sixties and early Seventies. Both players are still very active. Their readings are alive, sparkling, and in the finest works (like the E minor Sonata, K304) wonderfully intense, avoiding on the one hand the over-delicacy and on the other the sense of heaviness that performances of this pre-revolution vintage sometimes have. The remastered analogue sound is excellent.


The sound made by Wakamatsu and Kojima on period instruments is still, however, rather different. One would expect a certain sinewy clarity, and if one listens hard that is what one gets. Unfortunately, however, the recording was made in the Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel, where BIS records its Bach series with the Bach Collegium of Japan. The acoustic is fine for that, but definitely not for this intimate music. Nevertheless, the playing is lovely, relaxed and expressive, sometimes ripe, in, for instance, the opening Adagio of the G major Sonata, K379 – whose variations movement is also good, highly coloured and dramatic. A pity that repeats are omitted in the E flat Sonata, K380. Stephen Pettitt