Werner Hink / Keiko Toyama

Mozart: Sonatas for Piano & Violin, K. 296, 377, 403 & 547

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Continuing their survey of the Mozart works for violin and piano, Austrian violinist Werner Hink joins forces again with Japanese pianist Keiko Toyama for this Camerata disc devoted to the sonatas K. 296, K. 377, K. 403, and K. 547. Performances of these sonatas on modern instruments are nothing new, but Toyama's choice to employ the massive Bösendorfer 290 Imperial (a 97-key behemoth of an instrument) seems like sonic overkill. Even the lightest playing that Toyama can produce in sections of passagework buries the lonely, underpowered violin. Enthusiasts of modern instrument recordings will still appreciate the instrument's rich, deep sound, however, and Toyama's playing is generally light, elegant, and restrained. For his part, Hink's playing is noticeably less refined and inviting. Much of his sound, even in simple accompanimental passages, comes across as labored and strenuous. Articulation is not always even, which contrasts disappointingly with the perfect uniformity provided by Toyama. Hink's tone is also not as rich and full, and the two instruments together sound decidedly mismatched. With so many fine recordings of these works available, this one fails to offer listeners much incentive to choose it over another.

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