Masumi Nagasawa / Ryo Terakado

Mozart: Early Sonatas

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The "early sonatas" promised on the cover of this CD by Japanese-Dutch harpist Masumi Nagasawa and Bolivian-Japanese violinist Ryo Terakado are generally known as sonatas for keyboard (generally a harpsichord) with violin accompaniment, composed by Mozart at the age of nine during his family's stay in the Netherlands in 1765 and 1766. As Nagasawa points out in her notes, given in English, French, and German and complete with reference to Japanese cherry blossoms, an early publication of the sonatas billed them as performable on the harp, a French single-action model of the kind Nagasawa plays here. The delicate timbre of the instrument is undoubtedly charming, and Nagasawa has a distinctively sweet sound that comes through especially well on the two true harp works on the album, sonatas by the Italian virtuoso Francesco Petrini. These were well worth unearthing, but the Mozart sonatas are less successful. For one thing, a publisher's financially self-interested statement that they could be played on a harp is hardly proof that they work well this way. The lack of a strong bass line makes the music sound shapeless, and indeed the notation about the harp was deleted from subsequent editions. Another problem is that these sonatas, while certainly remarkable for a nine year old and attractive in moderate doses, don't hold the listener's attention over the course of all six. The sound, from a Gothic-style Dutch church, is positively sepulchral and not terribly appropriate to the light, convivial nature of the music. Recommended mostly for historical-instrument specialists.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, KV 26
1 3:25
2 2:47
3 2:44
Sonata No. 2 in G major, KV 27
4 4:53
5 4:04
Sonata No. 3 in C major, KV 28
6 4:31
7 2:51
Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 3
8 2:51
9 3:33
10 5:02
Sonata No. 4 in D major, KV 29
11 3:33
12 3:52
Sonata No. 5 in F major, KV 31
13 7:18
14 3:03
Sonata No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 3
15 4:08
16 7:25
Sonata No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 3
17 3:04
18 3:47
19 2:10
blue highlight denotes track pick