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Mozart: Complete Sonatas For Violin & Piano / Sitkovetsky, Lifschitz, Pappano

Mozart / Sitkovetsky / Lifschitz / Pappano
Release Date: 07/27/2010 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 98254   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri SitkovetskyAntonio PappanoKonstantin Lifschitz
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Violin Sonatas: in G, K 301 (293a 2 ); in E?, K 302 (293b 2 ); in C, K 303 (293c 2 ); in e, K 304 (300e 1 ); in A, K 305 (293d Read more class="SUPER12">1 ); in D, K 306 (300l 2 ); in C, K 296; 2 in F, K 376 (374d 2 ); in F, K 377 (374e 2 ); in B?, K 378 (317d 2 ); in G, K 379 (373a 2 ); in E?, K 380 (374f 1 ); in B?, K 454 1; in E?, K 481 2; in F, K 574 2; in A, K 526 2 Dmitri Sitkovetsky (vn); 1 Antonio Pappano, 2 Konstantin Lifschitz (pn) HÄNSSLER 98.254 (4 CDs: 291:00)


These lively performances feature Dmitri Sitkovetsky, a “mainstream” violinist who sounds stimulated by historically informed performance practice. His Mozart is less the sweetly singing cherub and more the obstreperous Amadeus character than say, Perlman’s, Szeryng’s, or Grumiaux’s. His articulation is sharper than theirs and he often avoids vibrato. (The opening of the E-Minor Sonata is a very effective, extended example of his non-vibrato playing.) Sitkovetsky is capable of very conventionally beautiful tone but saves it for selected moments, and listeners used to a warmer quality will need to adjust to his sometimes astringent and often brightly unvarnished sound.


In these 17 mature sonatas—each an outstanding composition, many of them masterpieces—the keyboard has a larger role than the violin, but only slightly, about 60 percent of the time. In the two finest sonatas, K 454 and K 526, and in many extended sections of the others, the partnership is equal. Hänssler’s engineers, or possibly the performers, seem to want to redress this and have created a lopsided balance between the instruments in which the violin dominates, but again, only slightly. The miking isn’t anywhere as extreme as what one hears in Heifetz’s sonata recordings, with the piano absurdly far in the background, but it goes in that direction. It’s not that Mozart’s sonatas aren’t very enjoyable to listen to with the violin slightly to the fore—in performances as characterful as these, they certainly are—but the balance is sometimes (slightly) at odds with the music.


Consider the slow movement of K 481, a late work that almost reaches the inspired level of K 454 and K 526. Konstantin Lifschitz plays the melody for the opening phrases at the movement’s opening but Sitkovetsky’s simple chordal accompaniment is louder than the piano part. When the violin takes over the main line, Lifschitz’s sound stays well under Sitkovetsky’s, as it should. (To my ears, it’s even too subdued.) In an older recording of K 481 with Henryk Szeryng and Ingrid Haebler, the piano melody is projected in proper proportion to the violin accompaniment. Haebler plays with a sense of poise and rhythmic control that gives the whole sonata a coherent framework, along with more detailed articulation and color than Lifschitz.


The sonatas on each disc are arranged in an order that would make a satisfying recital program. I enjoyed listening to them that way and also chronologically for the sheer pleasure of surveying Mozart’s development of the genre. Three of the four discs have been previously issued as single volumes. The first, containing four sonatas with Antonio Pappano as pianist, was reviewed in Fanfare 30:5 and I agree with most of Robert Maxham’s favorable assessment. The ebullient K 305 makes a great opening; there are no balance problems in a movement like its opening Allegro di molto where both instruments mostly play together in fast passagework. (The imbalance only becomes apparent in passages where the two instruments exchange phrases or when the violin accompanies the piano.) The ensemble between Sitkovetsy and Pappano is extremely tight yet very flexible. If there’s any criticism concerning their interpretation it’s that K 454’s final Allegretto movement is taken a little too fast, as is the Allegretto in K 306 with Lifschitz. The character of Mozart’s allegrettos always benefits from a sense of restrained speed. Here they sound eager to become allegros.


In Volumes 2 to 4, Sitkovetsky is joined by Konstantin Lifschitz, and their performances mostly go from strength to strength. Among the high points are their relaxed, genial approach to K 378, and a brilliant reading of K 526 where both players revel in its dazzling counterpoint and make the most of its nocturnal slow movement. I also appreciate the very gutsy, fully expressive way in which all three artists approach the Mannheim sonatas, K 301–306, most of them two-movement works that many violinists pass over or treat as trivial. They’re not.


Included in Volume 4 is one of several unfinished sonatas, K 403. In this recording, its final movement, a fragment lasting 30 seconds, leads uninterrupted into the opening of the Sonata in C, K 296. I wondered if Sitkovetsky was demonstrating a musicological point here about a possible connection between the two works and went to the booklet notes to find out but, alas, they are typically discursive meanderings by Eckhardt van den Hoogen and do not answer the question. Rather than combine van den Hoogen’s essays for each individual volume into a coherent whole, Hänssler has reprinted each one, creating lots of repetition. It was a relief to turn to Alfred Einstein’s Mozart: His Character, His Work for an elegantly written, informative survey of the sonatas. It turns out that there’s no relationship between the two sonatas in C, but the segue between tracks 8 and 9 is quite clever nonetheless.


Despite my various quibbles, Sitkovetsky’s Mozart sonatas provide real pleasure and are strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, K 305 (293d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Antonio Pappano (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Mannheim, Germany 
2.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, K 380 (374f) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Antonio Pappano (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor, K 304 (300c) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Antonio Pappano (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Paris, France 
4.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in B flat major, K 454 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Antonio Pappano (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, K 301 (293a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Mannheim, Germany 
6.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major, K 306 (300l) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Paris, France 
7.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major, K 376 (374d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, K 526 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in C major, K 303 (293c) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Written: 1778 
10.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major, K 377 (374e) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in B flat major, K 378 (317d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Salzburg, Austria 
12.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, K 481 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, K 302 (293b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Written: 1778 
14.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, K 379 (373a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in C major, K 403 (385c) [Fragment] by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in C major, K 296 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Mannheim, Germany 
17.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major, K 547 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin), Konstantin Lifschitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

Violin Sonata No. 22 in A major, K. 305: I. Allegro di molto
Violin Sonata No. 22 in A major, K. 305: II. Theme and Variations: Andante grazioso
Violin Sonata No. 28 in E flat major, K. 380: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 28 in E flat major, K. 380: II. Andante con moto
Violin Sonata No. 28 in E flat major, K. 380: III. Rondo: Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 21 in E minor, K. 304: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 21 in E minor, K. 304: II. Tempo di Menuetto
Violin Sonata No. 32 in B flat major, K. 454: I. Largo - Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 32 in B flat major, K. 454: II. Andante
Violin Sonata No. 32 in B flat major, K. 454: III. Allegretto
Violin Sonata No. 18 in G major, K. 301: I. Allegro con spirito
Violin Sonata No. 18 in G major, K. 301: II. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 23 in D major, K. 306: I. Allegro con spirito
Violin Sonata No. 23 in D major, K. 306: II. Andantino cantabile
Violin Sonata No. 23 in D major, K. 306: III. Allegretto
Violin Sonata No. 24 in F major, K. 376: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 24 in F major, K. 376: II. Andante
Violin Sonata No. 24 in F major, K. 376: III. Rondo: Allegretto grazioso
Sonata for Keyboard and Violin No. 35 in A major, K. 526: I. Molto Allegro
Sonata for Keyboard and Violin No. 35 in A major, K. 526: II. Andante
Sonata for Keyboard and Violin No. 35 in A major, K. 526: III. Presto

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