Mozart • Paris & Vienna

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
LABELS: Linn
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart • Paris & Vienna
WORKS: Andante in F; Piano Sonatas Nos 10 & 12; Allegro in B flat; Adagio on B minor; Fantasy in C minor, etc
PERFORMER: Gottlieb Wallisch (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CKD407

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Gottlieb Wallisch, a competition winner and now an established international artist, has recorded a second Mozart CD for Linn Records. Like the first, reviewed in November 2010, its compilation of sonatas and stand-alone pieces makes for an appealing, astutely varied programme. It testifies both to the young Viennese pianist’s impressively assured command of idiom, and to the infinite richness of Mozart’s solo-keyboard oeuvre (still undervalued though it remains in certain quarters). The disc’s subtitle, ‘Paris and Vienna’, indicates the influences at work on Mozart in such a bill of fare. The two supremely elegant middle-period Sonatas, No. 10 in C, K330 and No. 12 in F, K332, were clearly formulated during Mozart’s long Parisian sojourn. By contrast, the stark, late B minor Adagio, K540, belongs to a later and less optimistic period in the composer’s maturity.

Wallisch’s readings contain many attractive qualities: immaculately clean fingerwork, fine phrase-characterisation and sense of balance. But this is, of course, much-recorded repertory and none of his renderings strike me as achieving either the final degrees of expressive concentration and finish, or the authority that I experience in the performances of Mozart masters past and present: Clara Haskil, Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida. But as a whole, and in spite of its somewhat over-resonant sound-picture, the CD is a pleasurable play-through, and recommendable as such.

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Max Loppert