Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4: Piano Sonatas Nos 1, 5 & 12; Minuet, K355; Allegro, K312
Peter Donohoe (piano)
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0629 63:18 mins
Peter Donohoe’s insightful survey of Mozart sonatas continues with two of the composer’s best known sonatas from the 1770s and a corresponding late work, alongside the fragmentary Minuet in D major. Donohoe’s approach to these early works is fleet but assured, taking the adage about Mozart’s sonatas being too easy for children and too difficult for artists to its necessary extreme. Full of clarity, marked yet understated, he makes them sound fiendishly virtuosic. Mozart would have approved, having published the first two as part of a set of ‘difficult’ sonatas at the age of 18.
Sonata No. 1 in C major is taken at a sparkling lick, full of energy, drive and sharp articulation in the Allegro. Donohoe reels it all in and makes it utterly fresh, never over-egging dynamically, yet shaping with great expression. In contrast, the more complex mature Sonata in F, which seems the natural end point of those early ‘difficult’ works, is incisively played here, the second movement Adagio emotive, the final Allegro Assai joyous, light of touch and glittering.
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Sarah Urwin Jones