Sergey Filchenko / Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya

Mozart: Sonatas for Piano & Violin

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Russia's Caro Mitis label has staked out territory in both the audiophile and the authentic-performance realms, and the label has often accomplished releases that combine its two strengths. The present release, featuring fortepianist Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya (say that fast five times) playing one of the very clean-sounding Walter fortepiano replicas by Belgian builder Chris Maene, offers a good example. Nepomnyashchaya and violinist Sergei Filchenko, playing a 1738 Florentine violin in the two outer sonatas and a Jacob Stainer instrument that produces a haunting effect in the Sonata in E minor, K. 304, deliver really compelling performances of these very familiar sonatas, with the sharp contrasts historical instruments can bring. The Sonata in G major for piano and violin, K. 379, has a very restless central fast movement and a lightly graceful theme and variations that give the listener the impression that the two have rethought the work from the ground up. Nepomnyashchaya applies added ornamentation in the slow movements and the variation finale of the G major sonata, always tastefully and carefully done, and the performers bring a real sense of spontaneity to the interaction between piano and violin that attracted reviewers and customers to these pieces in the 18th century; they push the tempo a bit but keep the expressive dimensions intimate. A very fine recording of some well-worn sonatas. Notes, in a rather breathy old-fashioned mode, are in English, Russian, and German.

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