Viviana Sofronitsky

Mozart: Harpsichord Concertos, Vol. 11

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The three brief harpsichord concertos on this album, clocking in at just over 34 minutes in total, are not usually included in Mozart concerto sets. They are arrangements by the 16-year-old Mozart of harpsichord sonatas by Johann Christian Bach, whom the young Mozart met and admired. The manuscripts bear corrections by Leopold Mozart. To bill them as Mozart harpsichord concertos is definitely misleading, but they're entertaining works with especially effective finales. As documents pertaining to the young Mozart's musical education they're invaluable; in basic mood, Mozart's music, over much of his career, resembled that of the "London Bach" perhaps more than that of any other composer. The brilliant, major-key yet slightly melancholy tone listeners associate with Mozart is already audible in this music by a leading member of the previous generation. Russian-born keyboardist Viviana Sofronitzki continues to impress with lively performances effectively varied in texture and attack. She has mostly used keyboard instruments appropriate to the relevant stage of Mozart's career. Here we get no information about the harpsichord other than that it was built by a contemporary maker in Montreal (and indeed the booklet notes on this disc are uncharacteristically sparse). But it stands up to the medium-sized Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense, and, as usual with this series, coordination between the keyboardist and conductor Tadeusz Karolak is sensitive and accurate. Even if you don't get exactly what's advertised, what you do get is enjoyable.

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