WORKS: Piano Sonata in B flat K281; Piano Sonata in E flat K282; Piano Sonata in F K533/K494
PERFORMER: Maria João Pires (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 437 546-2 DDD
Quite simply, this is Mozart playing at its very best. The Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires established her reputation as a Mozart performer and this disc amply demonstrates why. Of the three sonatas performed here, K281 and K282 are early works dating from 1775 and bear all the characteristics of the ‘galant’ style, where formal elegance was more important than intense feeling. This elegance demands finger-work of the utmost delicacy and evenness of touch to project these deceptively ‘simple’ works. Pires’s technique is breathtaking, maintaining the lightest of articulation and an evenness of trills and runs that recall arguably the greatest Mozart player of all, Clara Haskil.
In the maturer K533, Pires is simply dazzling in the fast triplet passages of the first movement, while the second movement, with its wildly chromatic harmonies, comes over as some kind of dreamy improvisation. The warmth and tenderness of the playing is slightly marred in loud passages by a certain hardness of sound, but this is a faint quibble. This disc was originally part of the complete sonatas issued in a six-CD box in 1991. DG is now releasing all singly, this being the fourth with the final two to be released later in the year. Annette Morreau