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Mozart: Klavierquartette

Mozart,W.a. / Vodenitcharov / Terakado
Release Date: 05/14/2013 
Label:  Flora   Catalog #: 1607   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  François FernandezRyo TerakadoBoyan VodenicharovRainer Zipperling
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MOZART Piano Quartets: No. 1 in g, K 478; No. 2 in E? , K 493 Boyan Vodenitcharov (fp); Ryo Terkado (vn); François Fernandez (va); Rainer Zipperling (vc) (period instruments) FLORA 1607 (66:24)

According to the back of the CD case, these performances of Mozart’s two piano quartets were recorded in 2007 in the mysterious location (to me) of Read more Bra-sur-Lienne, and have now been issued on a less than familiar label, Flora. The performers are a group of individuals whose names suggest four different nationalities (see headnote). That’s about all of the information that I have, since my copy of the disc came without a booklet.

By not including notes, Flora may be making the case that Mozart’s well-known music speaks for itself—which it does, especially in performances as strong as these—or else it’s a mistake. I confess that I’m perfectly happy not to read about these masterpieces’ historical background once again, but, of course, newer listeners may not be. I would, however, have liked to know what Vodenitcharov’s instrument is, and those of the string players, and to have some biographical information on the performers, since they are all excellent players.

Thanks to the Internet, I have learned that Bra-sur-Lienne is in Belgium, and that Flora is a Belgian label specializing in Baroque and Classical period instrument recordings, including one containing three Mozart violin sonatas performed by Boyan Vodenitcharov and François Fernandez, the violist here. It received a positive review from Robert Maxham in Fanfare 36:3. On that recording, Vodenicharov’s fortepiano is a 1980 copy by Chris Maene of a 1785 Stein instrument, which would certainly be appropriate for the piano quartets composed in 1785–86. Maxham described the “amber, viola-like richness of Fernandez’s 1670 Guarneri” and there is also a darker than usual quality to Ryo Terkado’s violin sound here.

Aside from the sound of the instruments—lower pitch, non-vibrato string playing—these performances are very straightforward, in a good way. Traditional tempos are taken and maintained with notable steadiness and sense of purpose. All repeats are observed. The use of ornamentation is minimal, even on repeats. The fortepiano’s sound is clearer within the ensemble than the modern piano would be, and Vodenicharov’s playing has fluency and fine rhythmic definition. He well delineates K 478’s dramatic contrasts and K 493’s more florid, expansive character. I particularly enjoy his imaginative, one-time use of the moderator pedal at an important structural moment in K 478’s finale, the deceptive cadence into E? Major just before the end.

In the Second Piano Quartet, which can be harder to bring off in performance than the first, this group of performers really excels in the second and third movements, taking a relaxed tempo in the second that breathes but never wavers in its direction. In the third, which is constructed along the lines of a keyboard concerto, Vodenitcharov’s playing offers more assertive musical leadership than that of Malcolm Bilson or Steven Lubin, to mention two other fortepianists who have recorded these works, and these performances’ greater musical intensity and finer string intonation outclass another period instrument version on Columns Classics with the fortepianist Bart van Oort.

FANFARE: Paul Orgel
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in G minor, K 478 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  François Fernandez (Viola), Ryo Terakado (Violin), Boyan Vodenicharov (Fortepiano),
Rainer Zipperling (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Bra sur Lienne 
Length: 29 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 in E flat major, K 493 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Rainer Zipperling (Cello), François Fernandez (Viola), Ryo Terakado (Violin),
Boyan Vodenicharov (Fortepiano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Bra sur Lienne 
Length: 36 Minutes 8 Secs. 

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