The Strad Issue: May 2015
Description: Violin sonatas from early and late in Mozart’s career
Musicians: ErnŠ‘ Kállai (violin) Zoltán Fejérvári (piano)
Though the booklet makes no reference to the use of period instruments, the tonal quality and style of performance would place this disc within that category. The joyful approach to K305 finds Zoltán Fejérvári’s staccato keyboard ideally complementing the sparing use of vibrato by the young Hungarian-born violinist ErnŠ‘ Kállai. It is, together with K304, one of Mozart’s early two-movement sonatas, the duo adhering to the composer’s description as ‘sonatas for keyboard with violin accompaniment’, and Fejérvári’s tight trills coming close to the sound of a harpsichord.
The remainder of the disc is given to the extended sonatas from Mozart’s later life, the instruments now sharing centre stage. Tempos in outer movements are brisk without being rushed, the central andantes flow with eloquent lyricism, and I particularly enjoy the mischievous approach to the opening movement of K454, a mood that carries over into the account of K526. Here we find the many scale passages, which can sound unduly hurried on so many discs, perfectly articulated.
The engineers provide an admirable balance between instruments and, though the violin part presents few challenges in these four works, Kállai’s refined and elegant playing makes for a much recommended release.