Romantic Violin Sonatas and Multi-piano Mozart CD reviews

ROMANTIC VIOLIN SONATAS AND MULTI-PIANO MOZART CD REVIEWS

ROMANTIC VIOLIN SONATAS: Carlock-Combet Duo ★★★

Schubert's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A (D574) never reaches the heights of his greatest chamber works but its four-movements are affable, easy-going and cosy – what the German's call "gemütlich". Guillaume Combet's warm and generous vibrato and Sandra Carlock's laid-back unobtrusive piano style fit the work perfectly. Schumann's chamber works, the famous piano quintet excepted, have as many thorns as flowers. The Duo's energy and brio in the finale of his Sonata No.2 in D minor is commendable but elsewhere there are acerbities, oddities and shadows that go unexplored. Listen to Kremer and Argerich's probing performance to hear what I mean. Grieg's Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, his last chamber work, has some dull thematic material but the Carlock-Combet Duo make the most of its whole-hearted romanticism and they ensure that its concluding Allegro animato is an exciting climax. At 80 minutes it's a top value disc.

MOZART: MultiPiano Ensemble / English Chamber Orchestra ★★★

Mozart's double and triple piano concertos are usually available only as part of complete cycles, so a single disc recording is very welcome. Why has Hyperion kept these 2014 recordings "in the can"? That usually denotes recording problems but non are evident here from the Israeli-based piano collective. Berenika Glixman and Tomer Lev play the more substantial double concerto K.365 – composed for Mozart and his sister Nannerl to perform – with suitable grace and elan. In the lighter triple concerto K.242 the pair are joined by Daniel Borowitzky aided by the ECO, experts in this repertoire, whose playing is uniformly excellent. A two movement fragment of a double concerto, completed by Lev, is an interesting bonus. What's missing is the imaginative phrasing and pellucid playing of Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia on their one-disc recording (Sony Classical) of these concertos where K.242's Adagio is elevated from galant entertainment to transcendental beauty.

Norman Stinchcombe

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