Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio / James Winn

Late Dates with Mozart

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The Late Dates with Mozart title of this U.S. release, complete with cheesy graphic design, suggests some kind of collection of romantic slow melodies, and the subtitle, "Three Late Sonatas for Piano and Violin," doesn't clarify things; the K. 454 and K. 481 sonatas date from the height of Mozart's fame in the mid-1780s and aren't conventionally thought of as late works. This said, these are solid modern-instrument performances of these works, which assign a progressively more important role to the violin without completely abandoning the model of the piano-accompanied-by-violin sonata. Violinist Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio and pianist James Winn, both of whom teach at the University of Nevada at Reno, catch this aspect of the music nicely; Sant'Ambrogio is alert to the places where the violin breaks out from its accompanimental role and unexpectedly inserts itself into the dialogue. The duo's performances have an attractive hint of puckish humor in the outer movements. The sound, unpleasantly close-up in a murky Reno church, is a disincentive. Notes are in English only.

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