ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Violin Sonatain G, K301; Violin Sonata in E flat, K302; Violin Sonata in C, K303; Violin Sonata in E minor, K304; Violin Sonata in A, K305; Violin Sonata in D, K306
PERFORMER: Gil Shaham (violin), Orli Shaham (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 2055188
The venue, the early 18th-century Palais Daun-Kinsky in Vienna, is opulent in appearance, and opulent in sound as well: almost too much for these essentially intimate sonatas. It helps that the Shahams perform on modern instruments, though Orli’s Bösendorfer has a surprisingly brittle treble register. Gil plays with impeccable intonation as well as suave tonal control: the vibrato is
always there, but only occasionally becomes wearing – the long note that begins the Adagio of K306, for instance. And, as with many violinists, his sniffs are all too audible. But the two of them have clearly worked out exactly what they want to do with phrasing, rubato and dynamics, and play with complete unanimity. The highlight is K304, where they contrast the drama of tonal exploration of the first movement with a beautiful veiled quality in the minuet.
Quite what the pictures add to the musical experience is hard to say. Yes, you can see the communication between the players, sometimes apparently enjoying a private joke. On the other hand, Orli’s swaying quickly becomes a distraction, and the camerawork, with its restless cuts, is at odds with the music. No extras, commentary, or documentary – just Mozart. Martin Cotton