All products and recordings are chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

Mozart: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 5 (Donohoe)

Peter Donohoe (piano) (SOMM )

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Piano Sonatas, Vol. 5: No. 3 in B flat, K281; No. 13 in B flat, K333; No. 15 in F, K533/494
Peter Donohoe (piano)
SOMM SOMMCD 0648   62:27 mins


For Volume 5 of this on-going cycle, Peter Donohoe turns to three of the pieces that are most perennially popular with pianists: the composite late F major Sonata, lithe and virtuosic; and two in B flat, the early, intricately decorated K281 and the wonderfully tender and down-to-earth K333. The pieces may be small in scale, but it’s top-quality Mozart from start to finish. The finale of K333 includes a cadenza that suggests a conceptual interchange with his piano concertos, and some of the movements could well have been recast as operatic arias or ensembles.

Donohoe is particularly attentive to this side of Mozart’s expression, prioritising a cantabile tone, vivid articulation and songful phrasing. Although, realistically enough, he eschews any temptation to pretend he is playing a fortepiano, he never lets the size of the tone overwhelm the sonatas’ intimacy; he uses pedal judiciously and the music’s spare textures are always clear and well balanced. In a few episodes the touch can become slightly over-solid – the complex, triplet-laden slow movement of the F ma
jor Sonata, for instance – but at other times Donohoe’s straightforward, direct approach and sparky non-legatos pay ample dividends. The recorded sound is close without excessive resonance.

Jessica Duchen

More reviews

R Martinsson: Open Mind; Orchestral Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson; A.S. in Memoriam; Concerto for Orchestra

Brahms: Symphonies Nos 1-4

Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 2

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8

Mozart in London


Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet