Mozart: Fantasia in D minor, K397; Fantasia in C minor, K475; Piano Sonata in E flat, K282; Rondo in F, K494; Variations, K613

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Fantasia in D minor, K397; Fantasia in C minor, K475; Piano Sonata in E flat, K282; Rondo in F, K494; Variations, K613
PERFORMER: Wolfgang Brunner (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: 999 430-2
First-rate Mozart playing requires the very highest degree of artistry – and even that’s only a starting-point. Many distinguished artists come a cropper when they turn their attentions to Mozart. Alicia de Larrocha, whose artistry is not in question, is no stranger to the challenge. This release marks the fifth instalment in her complete cycle of the Mozart piano sonatas, and she’s long been an enthusiastic advocate of the concertos. Yet one listens in vain here – at least I do – for that infinitely subtle finesse, that finely judged suppleness of line (‘It should flow like oil!’ Mozart repeatedly insisted) and that three-dimensional rhythmic imagination which are the prerequisites of great Mozart playing, regardless of instrument. That said, this is by no means discreditable playing. Textures are crystal clear, the tone is never ugly (though seldom beautiful), there is a commendable sense of overall design, but…

Advertisement

The far less well-known Brunner, using a fortepiano, often comes closer to the Mozartian ideal, yet the striking inconsistencies in the playing, veering from the most beautiful delicacy to the rhythmically static, ultimately rules out the warm recommendation which his best playing certainly merits. Jeremy Siepmann