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Mozart: Piano Sonatas / Vladimir Ashkenazy

Release Date: 06/08/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 425031  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Vladimir AshkenazyMalcolm Frager
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

To describe this as beautiful Mozart playing would be true, but not the whole truth. For what impressed me most was its very positive character. Everything is of crystalline clarity, everything is what can be conveniently summarized as stylish. Yet never is there a single bar's suggestion of note-weaving for its own sake. Ashkenazy always uncovers strong motives for the notes being there. For this reason he is more likely to convert disbelievers (and there are some, in the context of Mozart and the solo keyboard) than Haebler in her recent boxed set.

The disturbed A minor Sonata, K310, offers particularly interesting comparisons. Not only is Ashkenazy's tempo slightly quicker in the first movement and considerably quicker in
Read more the finale: there is also much stronger internal tension in his playing, as well as bolder dynamic contrast. In the first movement I was interested to find him playing the first right hand A in the second bar as an appoggiatura—to match the D sharp at the start of the first bar. It certainly heightens the feeling of unrest. He is not consistent in his treatment of this motif on its several returns. But then, nor is Mozart in his notation in the autograph—so SS tells inc. When the bass gets the limelight in the middle section of the slow movement, Ashkenazy makes its staccato much more emphatic than usual.

In the D major Sonata it is only in the finale that Ashkenazy's tempo is livelier than Haebler's. Yet his first movement sounds more urgent and purposeful because of his way of looking ahead, of carrying through; in spite of rich imaginative response to detail, you hear the exposition as one Continuous argument. The slow movement is beautifully phrased, with an effective heightening of tension in the F sharp minor middle section before the recapitulation. Possibly one or two first beat bass notes in this section could have been given a bit more weight. I much enjoyed the fullblooded vigour of the finale.

The sleeve-note writer, Robin Golding, remarks on the "almost Chopinesque elegance and plasticity of melodic line" of the A minor Rondo, K511. This aspect of it seems to make a particularly strong appeal to Ashkenazy. I have heard more desolate performances, but none more full of assuaging lyrical beauty. He keeps it on the move, in accordance with the Andante marking, and moulds the notes into a singing line. The recording is everything that could be wished for.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [4/1970]
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano no 18 in D major, K 576 "Hunt" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1967-1968 
Sonata for Piano no 8 in A minor, K 310 (300d) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1967-1968 
Rondo for Piano no 3 in A minor, K 511 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1967-1968 
Sonata for 2 Pianos in D major, K 448 (375a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Malcolm Frager (Piano), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1964 

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