As one of the great virtuoso pianists of his time, Mozart composed a wealth of piano concertos and sonatas that rank among his most famous instrumental works. Not so well known, however, are the duet compositions he wrote for the instrument and to which this CD is dedicated: together with the large body of arranged orchestral music that publishers released, they provide evidence of the healthy scene of domestic music-making in existence during the Classical period.
First to be featured on the compilation is the Sonata in C, KV19d – a composition whose authorship has been disputed but which has nevertheless become part of the traditional canon of Mozart’s piano duets. Moving on to KV381 and KV358 (which both date from the early 1770s), we encounter two sonatas whose galant sound world is reminiscent of the roughly contemporary ‘Salzburg Symphonies’. Their allusion to orchestral colouring is hardly surprising given the fuller sonority afforded by two players instead of one, and there is little doubt that Mozart wrote the works in order to perform them with his sister Nannerl, who was an excellent pianist.
Mozart would periodically return to four-hand piano music later in his career – the Fugue in G minor K401 and the Andante with Variations in G K501 date from the early 1780s and 1786 respectively. Comprising a charming collection of works, the compilation as a whole brims with musicality and includes historically informed performances from Modena and Gregoletto on fortepiano – a beautifully balanced partnership that convincingly argues for the duets’ equal standing alongside solo works.
New booklet note by David Threasher