Gottlieb Wallisch - Mozart: Paris & Vienna - Fanfare

Entitled "Mozart-Paris and Vienna: A Tale of Two Cities," the current recording encompasses a wide range of pianistic genres in which Mozart wrote in the last decade of his life. The composer himself never completed some works, such as the C-Minor Fantasia and the B?-Major Allegro performed here; they were later finished by another Austrian composer and contemporary of Mozart's, Abbé Stadler. Most importantly-though they may not be the best of which Mozart was capable-when programmed with the composer's other completed compositions the recital maintains a sense of interest from beginning to end; in other words, it feels like a true recital, rather than a recording of various works by the composer.

So what does it take to successfully pull off such a varied program? It takes a pianist of capable fingers-one who can handle not only the many virtuosic passages, but who can make them sound easy, one who has a special rounded quality of tone production, one with a deep understanding of the lyrical qualities inherent in this music, along with a sense of the linear aspects of the writing. The Austrian pianist, Gottlieb Wallisch, brings many of these qualities to his interpretations. The finale of the Piano Sonata in F, K 332, is beautifully executed: It is fleet, has a wonderful sense of direction, and in its minor-hued passages even has a tinge of the melancholic.

The late Andante in F, K 616-originally composed for mechanical organ-has a sense of the mechanical to it: a positive trait here. Never is it over-sentimentalized in this performance, but neither does it leave one cold to its inherent charms. The Variations in F, K 398, are brilliantly realized, providing a nice foil to the seriousness of some of the other works on the recital. 

Wallisch certainly brings much to this recital. In the faster, more brilliant sections, he is a pro. He is, in his early to mid-30s, still young though. If he can hone in on those moments of Innigkeit he could be, with all of the positive qualities he brings already, a superstar. I eagerly await hearing his future projects: He simply sounds that good in his phenomenal moments to discount them altogether.

15 January 2013