Gil Shaham

Mozart in Paris

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The six sonatas of Mozart's Op. 1 (K. 301 through K. 306) are sonatas for piano with violin accompaniment. Canary Classics even puts a copy of the original title page right on the front of the album, but on the back the works are referred to as "Sonatas for Violin and Piano." Okay, so maybe this is all just arguing semantics, but how these sonatas are thought of definitely has an influence on how they are performed and which instrument is given dominance. In this recording by violinist Gil Shaham and his sister, pianist Orli Shaham, it is relatively clear that the violinist is considered the dominant, more important instrument. Both musicians give dazzling, technically brilliant, and musically inspired performances of their own parts. But when playing together, the violin "accompaniment" greatly overshadows the piano. Apart from this mismatch, the album provides listeners with lively, energetic, and vibrant performances that typify the youthful exuberance found in Mozart's earlier works. Gil Shaham's playing is fiery and almost aggressive and while this is compelling on one hand, on the other it is what leads to his frequent hogging of the spotlight. Orli Shaham's playing is equally refined, crisp, and articulate. Despite the nitpicking, this album is still a great choice for those seeking non-timid performances of Mozart.

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