Volume two from duo demonstrates endless variety and invention

 Isabelle Faust: Mozart

Isabelle Faust: Mozart


The Strad Issue: May 2020
Description: Volume two from duo demonstrates endless variety and invention

Musicians: Isabelle Faust (violin) Alexander Melnikov (piano)

Works: Mozart: Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin vol.2: F major K376; A major K305; G major K301; B flat major K378

Catalogue Number: HARMONIA MUNDI HMM 902361

In this second volume of Faust and Melnikov’s Mozart Sonata recordings, Faust demonstrates again what a fine period-performance artist she is, with beautiful melodic lines subtly shaped and her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Stradivari gleaming on the E string. Melnikov plays a copy of a 1795 Anton Walter fortepiano. The balance between the two is superb. They play with a certain amount of creative freedom which goes beyond ornamentation in the repeats: they tweak rhythms, go in for a spot of hocketing, and re-shape little runs; there is a touch of ponticello. In the Allegro of the F major Sonata K376 elegance is punctuated by robust outbursts. There is artful simplicity in the Andante with giocoso playing in the Rondo finale, with flashes of minor-key drama and some great punchy bass notes in the fortepiano.

In the A major Sonata K305 the players have fun in the second movement, with Melnikov expanding on a little cadenza and Faust introducing Scotch snaps. There is endless variety and invention in the high-spirited first movement of the G major Sonata K301, and in the minor section of the second movement Faust plays with silky, veiled tone, ending with a whisper. The B flat major Sonata K378 is wonderfully urbane and sophisticated. The recording is clear and bright.