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Mozart: The Violin Sonatas

Mozart: The Violin Sonatas
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducting
Review by: Robert Zierolf

Anne-Sophie Mutter's 4-CD set of 16 sonatas is the third of her Mozart tribute recordings this year (Violin Concertos and Sinfonia Concertante; Piano Trios K. 502, 542, 548). Composed between 1777 and 1787, these "accompanied keyboard sonatas" exhibit the extraordinary range of Mozart's (and Mutter's) aesthetic ideas in the chamber music realm.

By times playful and dance-like, other times serious and profound, these works were composed for several different soloists with Mozart the usual accompanist. After extensive touring together and recording all 16 sonatas in a single month, Mutter and Lambert Orkis capture the varieties of the Classical style too often subsumed under generality of approach. Phrasing and timbral subtleties are particularly noteworthy, and I suspect Mozart would be astonished and delighted by the insight Mutter achieves given his comments on some of the violinists he performed with.

Another value this set offers is works rarely performed. Each of the four discs can be heard as a recital of a little over an hour, sonatas arranged as they would be in live performance.


Sound Quality:

Robert Zierolf is Professor of Music Theory and History and Division head of Composition, Musicology, and Theory at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. He is also a freelance writer on classical music.


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