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Mozart: Duo Sonatas Vol 5 / Duo Amade

Mozart / Duo Amade / Mackintosh / Govier
Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 785  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Catherine MackintoshGeoffrey Govier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Amadè
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Violin Sonatas: in E? , K 380; in B? , K 454; in F , K 574 Catherine Mackintosh (vn); Geoffrey Govier (fp) (period instruments) CHANDOS 0785 (58:25)


With its fifth volume, Chandos’s series of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s duo sonatas performed by the Amadè Duo Read more (violinist Catherine Mackintosh and fortepianist Geoffrey Govier) draws to an end. As before, Mackintosh plays a 1703 Giovanni Grancino violin with a late 18th-century bow, and Govier, a fortepiano made in 1986 by Christopher Clarke, based on a Viennese instrument by Anton Walter from about 1795, tuned to unequal temperament, with A = 430. And as before, Neal Zaslav has provided exceptionally clear and insightful notes.


In the program’s first sonata (K 380), the instrumentalists trade prominence. Mackintosh hardly sounds so elegant as Arthur Grumiaux in Mozart sonatas, but the liveliness of the interaction between the partners, their subtle yet wide-ranging dynamic (and emotional) contrasts, and their crisp instrumental timbres compensate in large measure for any lack of smooth eloquence, as in the sonata’s Andante con moto. They demonstrate that they’re capable of achieving very different results—less probing overall (though hardly in the Rondo’s stormy passages) but correspondingly more gracious, with a similar timbral, technical, and expressive arsenal.


Lasting almost 22 minutes, the program’s second sonata (K 454) represents perhaps an even more equal partnership, with the violin and piano trading short snatches of melody in a game of musical badminton. Mackintosh and Govier have obviously developed the kind of intimate partnership that allows this kind of interaction to blossom, but they play with seamless unanimity in homophonic passages for a time before returning to their game of shuttlecock and battledore. In the slow movement, they alternate piquancy and poignancy, and they reach deep into the movement’s expressive lode near the end, at the same time as the timbres of Mackintosh’s violin seem to grow tubbier and less ingratiating. The finale, which, the story goes, Mozart improvised before Emperor Joseph (in an appearance with violinist Regina Strinasacchi) provides the duo with an opportunity for an expressive tour de force.


The duo revels in the simpler joie de vivre of the third sonata (K 547) in its opening Andantino cantabile and especially in its ensuing Allegro, in which chattering figuration accompanies the melodic parts; they find wit even in its sudden turn to minor. They’re arch in the theme that provides the basis for the finale’s six variations, and while Govier organizes the first variation’s 16th notes into comprehensible patterns, they strut confidently together in the second and third before relaxing into the more smoothly flowing fourth (at least in the violin part). Govier carries the argument of the darker fifth alone and admits the violin as an accompanist to his running figuration in the sixth and final variation.


Those who have followed the duo through the first four volumes will be disappointed to find that the series has come to an end, but this valedictory effort, though a mournful event, deserves as enthusiastic a recommendation (I called it “urgent” at the series’ opening, and still would) as did the ones that preceded it.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in B flat major, K 454 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Catherine Mackintosh (Violin), Geoffrey Govier (Fortepiano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Amadè
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, K 380 (374f) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Catherine Mackintosh (Violin), Geoffrey Govier (Fortepiano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Amadè
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major, K 547 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Catherine Mackintosh (Violin), Geoffrey Govier (Fortepiano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Amadè
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

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. 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. 36 in F major, K. 547: I. Andantino cantabile
Violin Sonata No. 36 in F major, K. 547: II. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 36 in F major, K. 547: III. Andante con variazioni

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