Viviana Sofronitsky

Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol. 6

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The Mozart concerto recordings of Russian-Polish keyboardist Viviana Sofronitzki, with the Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense, have featured various keyboard instruments appropriate to different stages of Mozart's career, but in the mature concertos Sofronitzki employs a replica of a fortepiano made by the Viennese manufacturer Anton Walter around 1790. This instrument generates a good-sized sound that's ideal for listeners who want to ease their way into historical performances of Mozart. Other fortepianists use the high noise-to-tone ratio of the fortepiano to emphasize the percussive quality of the instrument and thus create performances that are more, not less, expressive than modern interpretations. Sofronitzki's style, however, is cool, smooth, and technically polished, all qualities suited to the Walter instrument. Her approach to the big Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491, is a good deal less dramatic than most of those on the market, distancing the concerto from its foreshadowings of Beethoven. Instead she explores it as an intricate design in a large musical space. The Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K 482, with its tuneful and jocular finale, also benefits from Sofronitzki's liquid, carefully controlled playing. This disc is rounded out by a rather lifeless version of the Rondo in D major, K. 382, which Mozart composed as a new finale for his Piano Concerto No. 5, K. 175 (it is simpler, not more complex, than the original finale), but as a whole, this disc, and this entire Polish series, fills a useful niche in the range of Mozart concerto recordings available.

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