Dvorák: Poetic Tone Pictures Op. 85. Leif Ove Andsnes, piano. Sony Classics 19439912092.
Mozart: The Piano Sonatas. Robert Levin, fortepiano. ECM New Series 2710-16 (7 CDs).
Ah, the instrument… The album cover proclaims that the sonatas are performed “on Mozart’s fortepiano.” There is an essay discussing the construction, sound, and history of the instrument included in the liner notes, in which it is noted that Moaart himself did some of his composing on this instrument, which was later gifted to one of his sons, and that Mendelssohn once tickled its keys. Eventually it was given to a museum, and now through the efforts of ECM and no doubt in recognition of Levin’s world-class reputation as a Mozart scholar the instrument was made available for this recording. Of Levin’s profound knowledge of Mozart’s music and his ability to play it in an appropriate style there can be no doubt. Indeed, the music flows from his fingers with remarkable facility. For lovers of Mozart’s piano music, this set is going to be a must-have. The only reservation that keeps me from making an enthusiastic general recommendation. Is the sound of the instrument itself, a sound that is closer to that of a harpsichord than to a modern piano. For some, that will not be an issue, but for others, it might well be an insurmountable obstacle to their listening enjoyment. Still, everything about this release is first-class. The packaging, the liner notes, the performances, the engineering – this is truly an outstanding release.
Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas Volume 1. No. 3 in B-flat Major K.281; No. 13 in B-flat Major K.333; No. 17 in B-flat Major K.570. Orli Shaham, piano. Canary Classics CC19.
Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas Volumes 2 & 3. Vol. 1: No. 9 in A Minor K.310; No. 12 in F Major K.332; No. 18 in D Major K.576. Vol. 2: No. 9 in A Minor K.310; No. 12 in F Major K.332; No. 18 in D Major K.576. Orli Shaham, piano. Canary Classics CC21.
Dawn. Ola Gjeilo, piano. Decca Classics 4852954.