WORKS: Piano Sonata in C minor, K457; Fantasy in C minor, K475 Fantasy in D minor, K397; Variations in D, K573; Rondo in Aminor, K511
PERFORMER: Anne Queffélec (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MIR 9913
‘Even temperament’ and ‘light, brilliant style of playing’ are the phrases used in the New Grove Dictionary to define Anne Queffélec’s artistry. Justly, as this CD shows: Queffélec is a Mozart pianist of distinction, refinement, warmth and, not least important, charm.
This recording on Mirare (now distributed by Harmonia Mundi) is well-rounded if a little lacking in air. It captures the appeal of Queffélec’s playing – tone forwardly projected like that of the best sort of French singer, never brittle or monochrome; attention to detail precise but never pernickety; a strong, instinctive feel for the dramatic pull of the music which nevertheless steers clear of anachronistic waywardness. The programme displays these gifts to fine effect: perhaps most fully in the C minor Sonata, preceded by its blood-relative Fantasy.
This is, of course, much-recorded repertoire. For all their attractive qualities none of these performances strikes me as achieving that final degree of expressive concentration, of finish, that I experience in, say, Clara Haskil’s 1954 K573 Variations, a supreme demonstration of perfectly distilled simplicity in Mozart (notwithstanding the elderly recording). Or – of more recent stamp – Uchida’s transportingly rapt A minor Rondo, K511, Schiff’s cool yet powerful C minor Fantasia and Sonata (two of the highlights of his Decca Mozart cycle) or Brendel’s brand-new, masterly D minor Fantasy. All this said, Queffélec’s disc is a fine one, well worth exploring. Max Loppert