Mozart: Piano Concerto No 16; Violin Sonata in G; Double Concerto in D for violin and piano (compl. Wilby)

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Piano Concerto No 16; Violin Sonata in G; Double Concerto in D for violin and piano (compl. Wilby)
PERFORMER: Daniel Hope, Sebastian Knauer, Camerata Salzburg, Roger Norrington
CATALOGUE NO: 2564 619442
Not even the keenest Mozartians are likely to have come across the D major Double Concerto for violin and piano, K315f. Mozart composed the whole of its opulently scored opening tutti, as well as the solo parts of the exposition’s first stage – a total of 120 bars – in 1778 before abandoning the project owing to the unexpected disbandment of the orchestra at Mannheim, where he was staying at the time. Philip Wilby, who has completed a good few of Mozart’s fragmentary works, argues convincingly in the CD booklet that the composer’s ideas for the remainder of the work were subsumed into his concerto-like violin sonata in the same key, K306. Wilby’s stylish orchestrations of the Sonata’s last two movements do duty as the corresponding portions of his reconstructed concerto; but for the first movement he’s largely on his own. The end-result isn’t likely to become staple concert-fare, but as a salvage-job on an intriguing torso it performs a valuable function.

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Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer make a strong case for the double concerto, but Knauer is rather pale and characterless in the D major Piano Concerto, K451, and Roger Norrington’s tempo for its middle movement is so swift that the music’s expressive qualities go for little. Much more affecting, and still in a genuine two-to-the-bar Andante, are Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic, who also offer a more sparkling account of the Haydnesque finale. This new disc is completed with the singularly beautiful Violin Sonata, K379. It’s a work in which the piano takes the leading role, and Knauer’s rather emasculated style of playing elicits a warm-toned but very intimate account of the violin part from Hope. Misha Donat