Piano Concerto No.16 in D, K451
Sonata for piano and violin in G, K379
Concerto for violin and piano in D, K.App.56/K315f [completed by Philip Wilby]
Daniel Hope (violin)
Sebastian Knauer (piano)
Sir Roger Norrington
Recorded between 17-19 May 2004 in the Main Hall of the Mozarteum, Salzburg
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: June 2005
CD No: WARNER CLASSICS
Duration: 71 minutes
A resounding opening to the festive piano concerto, a detail-studded orchestral exposition enlivened by vivid trumpets and drums, characterful woodwinds and explicitly balanced antiphonal violins. Sir Roger Norrington provides an engaging introduction in the booklet – “the boys played beautifully”, he says of Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer. The latter is a judicious soloist, a first among equals, in his solo appearance, playing with lively sensitivity and shapely phrasing. K451 is a charming work that culminates with a dapper finale. This whole performance is beguiling and irrepressible. As Sir Roger says: “It’s interesting, isn’t it, to hear this kind of ‘second generation’ historically informed playing: modern instruments, but completely digested performance practice…”; certainly there’s no dogma here, just infectious involvement.
Before the reconstructed double concerto, it’s a nice idea to have its protagonists essay one of Mozart’s most interesting piano and violin sonatas (that’s the correct order of instruments!). This particular one is cast in two movements: an Adagio (repeated) leading to an Allegro and followed by a Theme and Variations. Knauer and Daniel Hope make a fine team, the pianist making much of the Adagio’s ornamental flourishes and the violinist richly expressing his part; the dramatic Allegro is lightly but tellingly etched, Hope’s reduced vibrato help makes an apposite, penetrating sound. The variation movement is lightly turned. It’s a lovely rendition.
Philip Wilby believes that the abandoned concerto for piano (clavier) and violin (Mozart’s order in a letter!) corresponds to the Piano/Violin Sonata in D (K306) and he has completed the orchestral work on that basis, his starting-point being the 120 bars of surviving, fully scored manuscript. Wilby’s reconstruction has been recorded before, maybe more than once, and was included in Philips’s Complete Mozart Edition.
In truth it’s not an especially distinguished piece, if pleasant and inoffensive; but the performance brings its own pleasures – all of those outlined above – and Wilby’s completion is wholly sympathetic. The first-class recording quality is in perfect congress with some outstanding music-making.