Mozart: Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and violin, Vol. 5: in B flat, K 31; in A, K305; in D, K 306; in C, K 403 (358c).

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Channel
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Complete Sonatas for Keyboard and violin, Vol. 5: in B flat, K 31; in A, K305; in D, K 306; in C, K 403 (358c).
PERFORMER: Rachel Podger (violin)Gary Cooper (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: CS SA 25608
If you’ve been following their Mozart series you’ll know that Gary Cooper and Rachel Podger have been lacing the accepted canon of the violin sonatas with some rarities. Here, we have not only the early Sonata K 31, but also a much more interesting unfinished C major work, K 403 – a piece whose curiously uninspired musical material is treated in an almost experimental manner. The opening movement’s recapitulation, for instance, departs radically from the pattern of the exposition; and the slow movement is strikingly chromatic. Mozart’s finale breaks off after only 20 bars, and the piece was expertly completed by Maximilian Stadler, who was invited by Mozart’s wife Constanze, to organise her husband’s manuscripts. Stadler’s completion maintained Mozart’s adventurous style, by setting the whole of the first stage of the recapitulation in the ‘wrong’ key. Rachel Podger and Gary Cooper give characteristically intelligent performances of all these pieces, with Cooper offering occasional discreet and imaginative embellishment of the keyboard part. These are, then, accounts that give a great deal of satisfaction, even it it’s possible to feel music-making ultimately lacks a certain Mozartian elegance and warmth. Among recent versions of K 305 and 306 in particular, Gil and Orli Shaham display those qualities in abundance, and in their hands the opening movement of the brilliant K306 also has greater élan.

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