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Gottlieb Wallisch - Mozart: Paris & Vienna - American Record Guide


01 November 2012
American Record Guide
Kang

Wallisch blends the familiar and the unfamiliar in his Mozart recording, an exploration of Mozart's compositional relationship to two major cities, Paris and Vienna.

He offers straightforward yet sensitive renditions of these pieces. He opens with the unfamiliar Andante if F, originally composed for the mechanical organ, a self-playing marvel in vogue at the time. This piece is enchanting and performed (on the piano) with a nice balance of sense for the original mechanism as well as the human element: the tempo is extremely precise but does not sound automatic. The more familiar Piano Sonata 10 likewise takes a clean, solid route, though I wanted more nuance in his repeats, as they suffer from lack of variety. I like his tempo choice for the Allegretto movement, as many pianists play it too fast. The tempo is unrushed yet vibrant. Sometimes Wallisch can be straightforward to a fault, and the fantasy in C minor demands more pathos. He plays it too briskly, even in the middle section.

The sound quality has the right amount of ambience for Mozart, so the sound is never dry. I wish the programme notes had explains more about Mozart's relationship to Paris. Most of these pieces originated in Vienna (musicologists have shown that the three Paris sonatas, two of which appear here, were actually composed in Vienna). Nevertheless, I enjoyed Wallisch's clear approach to the standard repertoire, and the hidden gems he chose to record are lovely.


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