Haydn; Mozart; Beethoven Sonatas

Splendidly played, beautifully recorded: virtuosity directed to musical ends

Author: 
Jed Distler

Haydn; Mozart; Beethoven Sonatas

Textural transparency, expressive economy, creative inspiration, high humour and strategically placed silences characterise these three Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart sonatas, as well as Rafal Blechacz's splendid, beautifully recorded interpretations. While he clearly enjoys his virtuosity, the pianist almost always directs his fingers towards musical ends. Note the strong left-hand underpinnings in the Adagio of Haydn's E flat Sonata, along with outer movements that have Marc-Andre Hamelin's incisive spark, if not his discreet lyrical inflections.

The Beethoven A major Allegro vivace stands out for Blechacz's infectious brio plus his astute differentiation of the composer's dynamic indications. One might find the Largo appassionato's staccato/legato distinctions a bit forced, yet the overall clarity and subtle interplay of Blechacz's voice reveal how well this music might lend itself to a string quartet. The crisply dispatched Scherzo sounds relatively "notey" next to the playful light and shade of Pollini's recent DG traversal, but the Rondo's simplicity and flow come as a welcome corrective to pianists who habitually take the opening phrase for a swan dive.

No qualms concerning Blechacz's delightful Mozart D major Sonata. The first movement's unexpected twists and turns and the Rondeau finale's rests couldn't be more effectively placed in time, while the central Andantino's vocal eloquence and dramatic touches organically fuse in Blechacz's intelligent hands. In short, Blechacz's third solo release (his second for DG) is by far his strongest yet.

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