MOZART Violin Sonatas – Tetzlaff
This disc brings together two musicians absolutely at the top of their game and with long experience of working together, as the easy dialogue between them amply demonstrates. High points abound: the way Tetzlaff withdraws his sound to a whisper in the long, sinewy lines of the Andante of K454; the minor-key passage in the same movement, a tragedy no less profound for being fleeting. At the other end of the emotional spectrum is the scintillating interaction of the two in the Presto of K526. This sonata, one of Mozart’s remarkable A major creations, came in the wake of personal tragedy, following the death not only of his father but also his friend, the gamba player and composer Carl Friedrich Abel, to whose memory the work is dedicated. It’s a creature of great changeability, attaining an almost hymnic intensity in the slow movement. That is especially evident in the visionary playing of Mark Steinberg with Mitsuko Uchida (a recording that should be in every home, to my mind, disappointing only for the fact that there has been no follow-up), where every yearning key-change is luminously coloured. The tragedy is perhaps more restrained in the new version, Tetzlaff’s tone warmer a degree or two than Steinberg’s, though the way he uses vibrato for expressive effect is compelling.
The reading of the earlier K379 is just as thoughtful, the opening movement achieving a more ethereal quality than Podger and Cooper, Vogt arguably the more imaginative keyboard player. It’s the hyper-reactivity between the two players that is a constant delight, as witness their subtle way of varying repeats. And the variation-form finale on a simple rococo-ish theme is entrancing, each one piquantly characterised without exaggeration. A delight from beginning to end. Would it be too much to hope that this might be the start of a series?