Gottlieb Wallisch - Mozart: Paris & Vienna

Another lovely disc of Mozart from Wallisch that proves beyond any doubt that Mozart in Vienna - Gottlieb Wallisch was no fluke.

Subtitled "Paris & Vienna - a tale of two cities", this disc pertains to contain works written for the two centres of C18 musical life but as the informative notes make absolutely clear, the so-called "Paris" sonatas here were in fact written in Salzburg! That minor quibble of presentation aside, the actual playing of Wallisch is beyond criticism. Whether it is in the Andante K. 616, the Sonatas, the Variations or the solo movements his choices of tempo are exemplary - never too quick, never too slow. Importantly, he manages to restrain his timbre of the Model D Steinway so that it never overwhelms the musical language and he manages more than many to evoke the clarity that is usually only found by using period instruments. Indeed this will be a disc that many may choose to point to and say "see, we don't need period instruments at all"...

Unlike many of the pioneering period performers though (and some misguided practitioners today), Wallisch points the short-line but also takes care to place these nuances within the structure of the longer line. In the F-major sonata, the treatment to the syncopated development section is verging on the Beethovenian; some will find it thrilling, others may think it over-eggs the musical argument. It must be said that, exciting though it sounds, the playing at this time is not in keeping with the style Wallisch adopts for the remainder of the movement and sonata.

The sound from Linn is beyond reproach - it is as if the piano is in your room and that at the end of the recital, one could wander over and duet with Wallisch. The distance is very well judged - not too far away but not close either so that the actual percussion of the hammers and pedal mechanisms do not intrude upon the music.

The slight oddity in K. 332 apart, this is highly enjoyable

19 July 2012