Mozart: A minor Rondo; B minor Adagio; Sonata movement in G minor; Sonata movement in B flat major

LABELS: Regis (all)
WORKS: A minor Rondo; B minor Adagio; Sonata movement in G minor; Sonata movement in B flat major
PERFORMER: Martino Tirimo (piano) – (all 3 CDs)
CATALOGUE NO: RRC 1257 / RRC 2072 / RRC 1256
The London Chelsea Sketchbook is


a remarkable collection of 39 short

keyboard pieces which the eightyear-

old Mozart composed for his

own amusement whilst his family

was resident in England during the

mid-1760s. Although the music is

fluent and covers a varied range of

moods, it is still somewhat limited

in expression rendering selective

listening to a few works far more

desirable than a trawl through the

complete cycle.

A similar degree of quality control

should be applied to the two-disc

set of early works and lesser-known

piano pieces. True, there are some

real gems such as the marvellous

Sonata movements in G minor and

B flat major, and Mozart’s fascination

with Baroque music inspires some

unexpected results in the unfinished

Suite and the Modulating Prelude. But

one can easily live without the rather

monotonous sequence of Minuets,

many of which have been recorded

here for the first time.

Fortunately, the disc of Encores and

Premières contains a sufficient crop of

undisputed masterpieces, including

the A minor Rondo and B minor

Adagio, to keep one’s spirits up. In

these particular works Martino

Tirimo produces a beautifully velvet

and cantabile right hand, though

there are occasions where the warmly

recorded Steinway D piano sounds

a little heavy especially in the lower

registers. Regrettably this aspect

of Tirimo’s playing seems more

pronounced in the Dances and

Minuets where there is a tendency

to sacrifice grace and elegance for

an unnecessary degree of harshness

of tone, and in the contrapuntal

and Baroque-influenced pieces the

pianist is sometimes disappointingly

mechanical in his execution of the

melodic line.

Currently very few rival recordings

detach the shorter pieces from the

sonatas and variations, and for this

reason Tirimo’s survey fills a useful

gap. However if you feel that some of

this repertory is better suited to the

fortepiano, Ronald Brautigam’s cycle

on BIS offers a more consistently


expressive experience. Erik Levi