Mozart: Violin Sonatas Fragment (Completions Jones) - Podger, Gylnn

Mozart: Violin Sonatas Fragment (Completions Jones) - Podger, Gylnn

Channel Classics  CCS SA 42721

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Timothy Jones:
Sonata in B-Flat Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1782c
Sonata in A Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1784b
Sonata in G Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1789f
Fantasia in C Minor for Piano and Violin, Fr 1782l
Sonata in B-Flat Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1782c
Sonata in A Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1784b
Sonata in G Major for Piano and Violin, Fr 1789f

Rachel Podger (violin)
Christopher Glynn (fortepiano)

Among the many instrumental pieces that remained incomplete at Mozart's death there were four particularly beautiful fragments for violin and piano. Timothy Jones has made multiple new completions of these fragments based on Mozart's evolving style during the 1780s, exploring the open-endedness of the fragments and the different directions the music might have taken. Rachel Podger and Christopher Glynn present the world premiere recordings, which include two completions of each Sonata fragment, enabling listeners to take alternative journeys through Mozart's material.

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Reviews (1)

Review by Graham Williams - March 21, 2021

Every new release from the incomparable baroque violinist Rachel Podger is eagerly anticipated by her countless admirers who will surely find this latest SACD both a delightful and intriguing one.

For Channel Classics she recorded the complete Mozart Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin, a project that has occupied her for the past sixteen years. The first volume of this excellent series was given an enthusiastic review by my colleague John Broggio in January 2007 Mozart: Complete sonatas for keyboard and violin Vol. 1 - Cooper/Podger, while Volume 6 was equally well received by him in October 2008 Mozart: Complete sonatas for keyboard and violin Vol. 1 - Cooper/Podger. This latest release, the ninth to be released, may perhaps be best considered as an addendum to what is already a complete project.

When Mozart died in 1791 at the age of only 35 he left a considerable number of incomplete instrumental pieces begun in the last decade of his life. In a collaboration with colleagues at the Royal Academy of Music and building on the work of musicologists Alan Tyson and Ulrich Konrad, Professor Timothy Jones has for the past seven years undertaken a reassessment and detailed analysis of the musical style of Mozart's fragmentary instrumental music from 1778 to 1791 and made multiple completions of them, seven of which are heard on this SACD. It is important to note that Jones’s approach to the completions, though inevitably speculative, is respectful to Mozart’s fragmentary material and is based on impressive and insightful scholarship. On a smaller scale they are comparable with those made of unfinished works by say, Schubert, Beethoven or Mahler with which listeners may be familiar.

In his eloquent and detailed essay in the liner notes Jones crucially explains the methodology he adopted:

“At the heart, I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to ‘perform’ the notation in the same way that it seems Mozart did − to write very fast and in a particular hierarchical way; if I paid detailed analytical attention to the immediate stylistic context of each fragment; and, noting that Mozart never repeats himself, if I applied the principle of stylistic models, not their letter. Of course, I have no idea how Mozart might have worked these fragments into finished pieces. So an important part of the project was to undertake multiple completions of each fragment…”

On this disc of world premieres we are presented with completions of fragments of three Sonatas for Piano and Violin; the first in B flat major from 1782 (Jones completion 3), the second in A major from1784 (Jones completion 4) and the third in G major from 1789 (Jones completion 1).
These are followed by a lovely Fantasia in C minor for Piano and Violin (Jones completion 1) that marks the centre point in this recital.
We then have the three earlier sonata fragments again, but this time in Jones’s completions 2,1 and 2 respectively. Thus listeners can compare and contrast the manner in which Mozart might have progressed with these pieces had he lived longer. The choices of which of the multiple completions to include on this disc were made jointly by Timothy Jones and Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, and one’s only regret is, that on a disc with a playing time of 56 minutes, it had not been possible to include even more of them.

On the earlier discs Rachel Podger was partnered by Gary Cooper, but here it is the award-winning pianist Christopher Glynn who performs on a particularly fine sounding modern reproduction of a Conrad Graf 1825 fortepiano made by Christof Kern in his workshop in Freiburg im Breisgau. Glynn’s playing throughout is wonderfully imaginative, marked by sensitive phrasing and crisp articulation that makes it a perfect foil to Podger’s vibrant and expressive performances on her usual Pesarinius 1739 instrument.

The recordings took place in St. John’s, Upper Norwood, London in November 2020 in what I am sure were Covid secure conditions. As always the Channel Classics team have achieved an exemplary 5.0 multi-channel recording that miraculously captures both the acoustic of the venue and the immaculate playing of Rachel Podger and Christopher Glynn.

Channel have adopted an eco-friendly minimal approach to the packaging of this SACD. A simple cardboard gateway sleeve contains the liner booklet in one half while the disc alone occupies the other.

Lovers of Mozart’s instrumental music should investigate this enthralling release without delay.

Copyright © 2021 Graham Williams and


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