Mozart: Piano Sonata in G, K283; Piano Sonata in A, K331; Fantasy in D minor, K397

Our rating 
1.0 out of 5 star rating 1.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Piano Sonata in G, K283; Piano Sonata in A, K331; Fantasy in D minor, K397
PERFORMER: Ivo Pogorelich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 437 763-2 DDD
Some time after he had finished recording the Mozart sonatas, Glenn Gould cheerfully admitted he couldn’t understand what people saw in them. The scales and arpeggios gave him the same sort of pleasure as Saint-Saëns, but that was all. I’m not suggesting that Ivo Pogorelich holds quite such heretical views, but his is certainly very eccentric Mozart playing. True, there are individual moments of beauty, but Pogorelich singularly fails to make any of the music hang together. For this, his wilful rhythmic waywardness is largely to blame. Take the Minuet of the A major Sonata, K331, where Pogorelich elongates the theme’s initial note to the extent that the first bar actually has four beats; or the opening paragraph of K283, which is subjected to a rubato more suited to Rachmaninov than Mozart.

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Just as I was about to give up in despair, along came the famous Alla turca Rondo from K331. In Pogorelich’s hands it really sparkles, and one can almost see the glint of the ‘Turkish’ percussion instruments that were so much in vogue at the time. All the same, it wouldn’t do to sit on the fence – hence the one-star rating. Misha Donat