The Duos for violin & viola, K. 423/K. 424 are unique in Mozart's output in that they were written not for his own his own personal satisfaction of financial gain, but to help out a friend. Michael Haydn had been commissioned to write a set of six such works by Archbishop Colloredo, but was finding himself unable to meet his deadline. Both charming works, they are also important for Mozart's use of the viola. While the violin is clearly the dominant instrument in these duos, Mozart's beloved viola is far from a mere accompanimental addition. Performing these playful, lighthearted works are violinist Stéphanie-Marie Degand and violist Pierre Franck. Both musicians play well in tune and produce a light, crisp tone, appropriate for Mozart. The interplay between the two parts is cohesive, though the viola part seems to be pushed to the background too often. Ligia Digital's sound is somewhat problematic; it is extremely dry and lacking in depth, balance, and warmth. In addition to the two Mozart duos, a third duo (which on the album's cover seems to be deceptively attributed to Mozart) was written several years after the composer's death by an unknown author. The duo is in the same spirit as the two original Mozart duos and is even based on Mozart's themes but does not possess the same free-flowing effervescence.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Duo for violin & viola No. 2 in B flat major, K 424|
|Duo for violin & viola No. 1 in G major, K 423|
|Duo for violin & viola in B flat major|