“Cooper and Podger provide some spirited playing… with repeats imaginatively decorated, and they are admirably expressive in the slow movements.”
“The brief K8 Sonata is one of three that the eight-year-old Mozart played for Louis XV with his father on the harpsichord. No great statement in comparison with one of the masterpieces here, say K454, but amazingly original given Mozart's tender age, with a bright, strutting minuet-finale that Gary Cooper and Rachel Podger throw off with winning mock-insouciance. All the accolades heaped upon these two are fully justified: the playfulness, the teamwork, the unanimity of gesture and appreciation of musical line, especially from Podger. Cooper's poetic responses are nicely displayed at the start of K380's Andante con moto: the way he manipulates the instrument's potential for shifting colours, bold and resonant to start, then at the theme's return with a more muted sound. Podger sails an expressively curved top line, largely (though not exclusively) without vibrato. There's real sparkle to the opening Allegro of K28, composed in The Hague by the quickly developing 10-year-old, JC Bach by now a discernible influence. The first movement of K402 recalls DonGiovanni's Minuet (it was written during roughly the same period) while K404, though thematically memorable, barely makes the four-minute mark. K454 is the masterpiece, the most substantial work and the most Romantic in style. Podger and Cooper employ their period-performance manners to pleasing effect, especially in the serene Andante and the keenly accented Allegretto. Full marks for these fresh, thoroughly accomplished and well-recorded performances.”
“All the accolades heaped upon these two are justified: the playfulness, the teamwork, the unanimity of gesture and appreciation of musical line… K454 is the masterpiece, the most substantial work and the most Romantic in style. Podger and Cooper employ their period-performance manners to pleasing effect, especially in the serene Andante and the keenly accented Allegretto.”
“Forget recent competition in these violin and keyboard sonatas: the honours go to Rachel Podger and Gary Cooper’s series on period instruments. Gut strings and the fortepiano’s dry attack encourage playing with character and snap; but the ultimate delight is the absorption and flair of Podger and Cooper. The music ranges from a kid’s trinkets to the big sweep of K454.”
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