Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 4; Piano Sonata No. 6

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Regis
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 4; Piano Sonata No. 6
PERFORMER: Martino Tirimo
CATALOGUE NO: RRC 1253
These first three instalments in a projected cycle of Mozart’s complete piano music were recorded last year in the warmly resonant ambience of Leipzig’s Mendelssohn Saal. By choosing to perform such repertory on a Steinway D piano, one might think that Tirimo was taking a calculated risk, especially with some of the earlier and more delicately textured Sonatas. But any doubts are soon banished in this disc which features Mozart’s first mature efforts in composing piano sonatas. Admittedly the opening movements of the C major, K279, and the D major, K284, are delivered with a forceful articulation similar to Barenboim’s in his 1970s cycle for EMI, though Tirimo is more elegant in his delineation of Mozart’s expressive second subjects. Occasionally, too, he seems to miss the sly moments of humour that pepper movements such as the Presto Finale of the F major. In comparison, Mitsuko Uchida manages to communicate this aspect of Mozart’s writing more effectively in her wonderfully exhilarating performance on Philips.

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In his informative booklet notes, Tirimo emphasises the essentially operatic nature of Mozart’s writing. So it’s little surprise that in the opening Adagio of the E flat major, K282, he exploits a wonderfully mellifluous bel canto line, giving the movement a far more expressive character than the comparatively cool Uchida. There’s a similar lyrical intensity in the Andante con espressione of the A minor, K310. What a pity that the ensuing Allegro seems a little perfunctory. It’s a fiendishly difficult movement to bring off, but Uchida and Murray Perahia (on Sony) are more convincing, achieving greater fluidity in negotiating the sequence

of thirds in the right hand

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The disc featuring the C minor Fantasy and Sonata, coupled with two of Mozart’s final works in the genre, is something of a mixed bag. Once again Tirimo gives a wonderfully expressive account of the remarkable slow movement of K533, and he is not afraid to put a Beethovenian gloss on the C minor Sonata’s opening movement. But Uchida achieves a similar dynamism without the unwarranted accents on the final note of each ascending unison arpeggio. Erik Levi