Mozart: Violin Concerto in D, K271a; Violin Concerto in in D, K218; Violin Sonata in B flat, K454

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Violin Concerto in D, K271a; Violin Concerto in in D, K218; Violin Sonata in B flat, K454
PERFORMER: David Garrett (violin), Itamar Golan (piano); CO of Europe/Claudio Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 447 110-2 DDD
DG’s booklet cover is misleading: not only does it fail altogether to mention that the disc includes one of Mozart’s greatest violin sonatas, but it disingenuously advertises two Mozart concertos. In fact, one of those concertos – K271a – is a 19th-century confection, often crudely and unidiomatically scored; and even if it may contain some authentic material (which is by no means sure), it can hardly be regarded as a genuinely Mozartian work.

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Nor does the booklet volunteer any information about the soloist. No doubt it was felt that allowance should not be made for his age. Well, yes and no: on the one hand, the playing itself, with its rich tone and rather intense vibrato, does not sound like that of a 15-year-old; but on the other, there is a general shortage of charm and gracefulness about these interpretations which betrays their immaturity. Mozart once proudly reported that, in his own hands, K218 had ‘flowed like oil’; and it is this sense of forward motion that is often lacking in David Garrett’s rather stiff and studied playing. Certainly, he shows promise, but he needs time to develop a distinctive personality. Misha Donat