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Mozart: Piano Sonatas Nos. 4 & 15; Rondo in A minor et al

Christian Chamorel (

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Piano Sonata No. 15; Rondo in A minor; 10 Variations on Unser dummer Pöbel meint; Piano Sonata No. 4; Adagio in B minor; Gigue in G
Christian Chamorel (piano)
Calliope CAL 1851 69:23 mins

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According to the booklet note, Christian Chamorel, in his late 30s, is ‘one of the very few French-speaking Swiss pianists whose influence goes beyond the country’s borders’. It’s an influence likely to stretch further with this delectable album of Mozart piano works. Half of its appeal firmly lies in his crisp, ‘modern’ playing, unclogged with excess emotion, perfect for spotless textures and dazzlingly articulated fast fingerwork on his warmly recorded Steinway D-274, undisputed king of the concert grands. The other obvious attraction is Chamorel’s choice of music, cannily selected to showcase the adventurous streak in Mozart’s (mostly later) piano output. Attractions range from the aching tragedy and dramatic silences of the K540 Adagio, through the F major Sonata’s baroque games and sudden snarls, to the galloping, tumbling final track, the outlandish G major Gigue.

Every work, in different ways, is built to surprise, and Chamorel’s alert responses never disappoint. His touch can be amazingly light, as in the magically whispered end to the F major Sonata’s first movement. But it’s his kaleidoscopic displays that most impress. Take the K455 Variations on a silly theme by Gluck, steadily twisted into meatier life by cleverly highlighting the harmonic escapades, the abrupt forceful chords, or the penultimate variation’s deeper feelings, beautifully captured here. Or better yet, there’s the B minor Adagio, treated to the dics’s most rhetorical performance, with the most quizzical phrasings and gestures, the widest range of colour and attack. This is a wonderfully ear- cleansing album, equally perfect as a diversion and as food for thought.

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Geoff Brown