ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Piano Sonatas, K 284, 310, 331, 457, 570 & 576
PERFORMER: Friedrich Gulda (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DG 477 7152 ADD
This is the second volume in a Mozart cycle recorded in 1982, in Friedrich Gulda’s own studio by the Attersee in Austria. The tapes survive only as cassette copies, and although DG’s remastering engineers have done wonders with the sound, the quality is variable. There’s a printed apology about distortion in the A minor Sonata K310, but there are other moments where the sound has been over‑modulated, particularly in the two D major sonatas, K284 and 576. However, it’s worth putting up with such defects for the sake of Gulda’s playing, which is effortlessly musical throughout. Particularly impressive are the two minor-key sonatas, with the maestoso marking of K310’s first movement conveyed without a hint of portentousness, and the outer movements of the C minor K457 as intense as you could wish for. Gulda’s limpid playing in the slow movements is a constant pleasure, too, and only his rather forthright performance of K576 disappoints. The fortissimo closing of the finale >is typical of his view of the piece. True, Mozart left no dynamic markings at this point, but the music is surely winding down.If first-class recorded sound is your priority, you’d do better to turn to the immaculately polished performances by Mitsuko Uchida. But Gulda offers playing of rare insight, without a hint of self-conscious poetry.