Just as it was when welcoming the first volume, it is a joy to now listen to this second issue of Christian Blackshaw’s complete survey of Mozart’s Piano Sonatas given in Wigmore Hall and issued on its Live label, beautifully recorded (applause retained) – just like being there.
Distinguishing lightness of touch, optimum clarity and ideal tempos inform this further batch of five works. One is aware of Blackshaw’s deep study of these Sonatas, and his affection and consummate approach, illuminating the music without making points or imposing self, yet there is plenty of character and individual insight to savour.
The three consecutive K-number Sonatas fill the first disc, each of the nine movements being a gem, whether of sparkling vitality, unhurried elegance and, in the slow movements, shapely expression. Blackshaw impresses that he is an interpreter sine qua non of these pieces, which are simple yet complex, the pianist at-one with both states. His spacious unfolding of the opening Adagio of K282 is blissful and searching, and also of ‘heavenly length’ thanks to his repeating both halves. The altogether special G major Sonata (K283) receives a particularly compelling and rewarding outing.
The second disc contains two ‘bigger’ Sonatas, beginning with a majestic reading of K330, gentle and serene but with inner strength, not least in the finale. A similar easygoing spirit informs K333, relaxed yet keen. The Adagio cantabile middle movement is most beautifully articulated and the finale is as graceful as the tempo marking indicates. It is also feel-good in it cheeriness. As before, this release is enthusiastically recommended.