Nimble and airy live performances of chamber-music scale are a joy to hear

Aisslinn Nosky, Max Mandel: Mozart

Aisslinn Nosky, Max Mandel: Mozart

The Strad Issue: April 2021

Description: Nimble and airy live performances of chamber-music scale are a joy to hear

Musicians: Aisslinn Nosky (violin) Max Mandel (viola) Handel and Haydn Society 

Works: Mozart: Violin Concertos: no.3 in G major K216, no.4 in D major K218; Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major K364

Catalogue number: CORO COR16183

Aisslinn Nosky, concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society, stepped out for these concertos, recorded live at three separate concerts spread over four years. In the G major Third Concerto, recorded in 2017, she sets out her stall with light, airy playing and a genuine chamber-music partnership with her orchestral colleagues. Her playing in the central Adagio is exquisite, a small voice gently singing Mozart’s extended cantilenas. The Rondeau finale is quicksilver, clipped and lively. In the D major Fourth Concerto, recorded in 2020, she brings vitality and drive to the first movement and a rich tone to the second, particularly on the lower strings. There is courtly elegance in the Andante sections of the finale from which Nosky breaks away, fleet and dancing, in the Allegros.

Violist Max Mandel has a dark, woody tone which nicely complements the light and gleaming Nosky in the Sinfonia Concertante, recorded in 2018. There is a sense of wonder in their playing, as if the music is all new and intoxicating. They chase each other gleefully through the semiquaver passages of the first movement and bring improvisatory rhythmic freedom to the cadenza. Free-flowing charm in the Andante is followed by dynamism and high good humour in the finale. The recorded sound is consistently clear and well balanced.