Mozart: Sonata in D, K381; Andante & Five Variations in G, K501; Allegro in G minor, K312

LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi / Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Sonata in D, K381; Andante & Five Variations in G, K501; Allegro in G minor, K312
PERFORMER: Christopher Hogwood (clavichord) – ‘The Secret Mozart’Richard Egarr (fortepiano) – ‘Fantasias’
CATALOGUE NO: 82876 82388 2 / HMU 907387
Mozart on the fortepiano? Of course,


and quite possibly on the harpsichord,

but on the clavichord? Well,

according to the notes accompanying

the latest in Chrisopher Hogwood’s

‘Secret’ composer series, Mozart

played the instrument frequently

and no less an authority than his

widow, Constanze, stated that he

composed The Magic Flute on the

clavichord that now resides in the

birth house in Salzburg. In nearly all

cases, Hogwood makes persuasive

cases for using the clavichord, notably

in the somewhat tortured rhetoric

of the G minor Allegro which is

magnificently suited to the generous

sonorities of the large Hass clavichord

on which it is recorded.

Mozart’s own, much more modest

clavichord, though well recorded, prompts of necessity slightly less

expansive readings. Indicative of

Hogwood’s innovative approach is

his decision to let the iconic, and

unfinished, D minor Fantasia stand

prelude to the D major Duo Sonata

in which he is ably partnered by

Derek Adlam. If the juxtaposition is

not entirely convincing, the Sonata

– an engaging romp beloved of

amateur performers – comes off

splendidly: the rather orchestral cut

of many of its textures might suggest

the need for broader sonorities,

yet it here comes over as entirely

convincing on the clavichord.

Performing on an early 19thcentury

fortepiano, Richard Egarr

takes a more Romantic view of the

D minor Fantasia. His interpretative

instincts where tempo and

articulation are concerned are mostly

very effective and the occasional

glance forward toward the worlds

of Beethoven and Schubert in the

later, more complex pieces is amply

justified. What problems there are

relate more to the handling of the

sonority of the instrument on which

he is playing. The brasher sections

of such works as the Marche in

C major come off extremely well and

clearly the instrument is possessed

of an almost vocally sonorous bass.

Though recorded with a credible

ambience, the treble range can,

however, sound unduly harsh and

some of the more conventional

accompanying figures emerge too

obtrusively. While there is much

to admire, the overly clangorous

quality of some of the readings sets

this listener yearning for the more

‘secretive’ world of the clavichord.


Jan Smaczny