Mozart: Sonatas for fortepiano & violin

vol. 1/K. 304, 306 & 526
Isabelle Faust (“Sleeping Beauty” Stradivarius) violin, Alexander Melnikov fortepiano (after Walter 1795)
65:50
harmonia mundi musique HMM 902360

This is not the first series devoted to Mozart’s music for this combination of instruments but I would stick my neck out and say it will be one of the best – top of my pile to date are the witty and lively renditions by Rachel Podger and Gary Clarke, but (even on this early evidence) Faust and Melnikov will give them a run for their money and I will certainly have to make space on my shelves for the volumes that are yet to come.

Volume one combines two sonatas from his first published set (Sieber in Paris, 1778) and his A major sonata of 1787 (when he was working on Don Giovanni). This partnership (whose catalogue covers everything from Mozart to Chausson, including a complete set of Beethoven) clearly understand one another, and – acknowledging Andreas Staier as a guiding hand – they have clearly found their way into Mozart’s head, giving crystalline readings of great authority, beautifully captured by the recording team. I cannot wait for volume 2!

Brian Clark