François Fernandez violin, Boyan Vodenitcharov fortepiano
K303, 360, 378 & 454
This is a delightful disc, featuring three beautiful sonatas dating from between 1778 and 1784 and a set of Variations from 1781. The balance between the two instruments is skilfully handled, with the violin rightly slightly subservient to the keyboard, but not necessarily simply by playing quietly, rather by using different colours for different sections of the music. Fernandez and Vodenitcharov are perfect partners in this repertoire, and I hope that the Flora archives will be found to have recordings of them playing Beethoven and even Mendelssohn, so that we can trace the history of the classical “violin sonata”, now that we have these characterful renditions of Mozart’s finest works. There is not quite the same sense of spontaneity in the watershed recordings by Rachel Podger and Gary Cooper, but there is definitely poise and pathos (try the Largo opening of KV454, for example), and a definite inclination to explore all of the colours of Mozart’s darker side.