Mozart’s Violin – Violin Concertos Nos 1-5
Chrisoph Koncz (violin); Les Musiciens du Louvre
Sony Classical G010004353645E 115:30 mins (2 discs)
Khe main point of interest here is that Christoph Koncz uses Mozart’s own violin – an early 18th-century Klotz that was passed originally to Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, before being sold on variously before arriving at the International Mozart Foundation in 1956. It is a uniquely valuable instrument as (unlike most violins of the period) it didn’t receive a 19th-century upgrade and is therefore set up exactly as Mozart left it when he quit Salzburg for Vienna in 1781. Not only that, but it is also the instrument for which the five authenticated concertos were composed and on which Mozart first performed them.
Listening to the Klotz in action is to be reminded why so many violinists (orchestral players especially) value provincial German instruments of the 18th and 19th centuries for their smooth, gently veiled and elegant sound. It also helps explain why in his concertos Mozart gives the violin so many opportunities to ‘sing’ in its upper register, as this is where the Klotz really comes into its own – if you have ever wondered where Mozart got the inspiration for the angelic beauty of K216’s central Adagio, then this radiant instrument may very well provide the answer.
All of which would have gone for nothing if it were not for Koncz’s exquisite sensitivity, not only for Mozart’s glowing cantabile but for the special tonal proclivities of the Klotz violin. Even when the notes start flying, as in the Presto finale of K207, Koncz does not force his sound in order to create an artificial brilliance, but rather allows the instrument’s gently cushioned tone to arise naturally. As an added bonus, Koncz provides his own cadenzas, whose stylistic intuitiveness is such that one might easily assume a set of Mozart’s own devising had miraculously come to light.
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