DONOHOE MOZART PIANO SONATAS VOLUME ONE

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVIEWS THE FIRST FIRST VOLUME IN PETER DONOHOE'S COMPLETE MOZART PIANO SONATA CYCLE

MOZART PIANO SONATAS Vol.1: PETER DONOHOE (Somm Recordings SOMMCD 0191) *****
Hearing Peter Donohoe play the Adagio of Piano Sonata No. 2 one understands immediately my colleague Christopher Morley's astute booklet note about how in these sonatas we feel "that Mozart himself is playing them to us spontaneously". We plunge into sombre F minor, see mourning clothes and funeral cortège but then it suddenly becomes an elegant flowing pastoral siciliano – the romantic tristesse of a character in a Mozart opera seria. Donohoe makes the transformation magical yet with a sense of absolute rightness. One can almost see Mozart's cheeky grin as he rounds things off with a perky presto. There's not a whiff of routine in any of Donohoe's performances: the Rondeau En Polonaise from Sonata No.6 is trippingly elegant but he finds a disturbing undertow, as he does under the apparently placid surface of Sonata No.17's Adagio. A sparkling start to a sonata set I'm eager to hear more of.
Norman Stinchcombe

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