COMPOSERS: Mozart and Vor’zek
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart and Vor’zek
PERFORMER: Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 1-008 (dist. Coda)
Given the sheer volume of music Mozart produced in his short life, it seems a touch churlish to describe him as one of the great ‘what ifs’ of music history, however tempting it is to speculate on what might have followed the Requiem. On the other hand the Czech composer Vo?í?ek, born in the year Mozart died, is a more genuine ‘what if’: he died at a slightly younger age but left nothing like the amount of music. What remains shows more than promise. Beethoven spoke with approval of his piano music, and his style seems to have influenced Schubert. Beethoven is a presence in the secondary theme of the Sonata’s first movement and Schubert in the scherzo, but there is much that shows a burgeoning originality. The finale, a virtuoso tour de force, has no evident models, although Scarlatti is recalled in the hectic opening phrases; sadly Vo?í?ek passed away before completing the slow movement.
Demidenko’s playing of the Vo?í?ek Sonata and Variations is flawless: sympathetic, idiomatic and effortlessly fluent. His treatment of Mozart’s far better known A minor sonata and accompanying shorter pieces is likewise deeply satisfying and the whole, taken from a Wigmore Hall recital, is recorded with warmth and clarity. Jan Smaczny