A convincing Mozart reconstruction

Fresh and dynamic playing from a young musical duo, in a sensitive reworking of Mozart’s lesser-known concerto.

Composer: Mozart
Repertoire: Mozart Violin Sonata in G, K379 et al
Artists: Daniel Hope (violin), Sebastian Knauer (piano), Camerata Salzburg/Roger Norrington
Rating:  5/5 
Genre: Chamber
Label: Warner 2564 61944-2

You could be forgiven for not having come across Mozart’s Concerto for Violin and Piano before. The composer wrote just 120 bars before abandoning the work and turning his attentions to a sonata for the two solo instruments instead. Cue musicologist Philip Wilby, who has provided the rest of the concerto by orchestrating, most sensitively, two movements of that sonata; and cue a dynamic young duo, Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer, to play the results with a freshness, enthusiasm and intelligence that is positively life-enhancing.

Knauer’s engaging lightness of touch works wonders in the too-rarely played D major piano concerto, K451 and in the sonata he and Hope perform as if with one mind. Add to this the decorous, tender partnering of the Camerata Salzburg under Norrington and the total effect is one of joyful music-making among friends.

Norrington remarks in the booklet, ‘What a joy to realise that you can  play convincingly with any instrument, whether old or new, and that “early music” is in the mind rather than the hardware.’ How right he is! Indeed, Hope and Knauer’s playing offers a stylish, musical and utterly delicious antidote to the over-mannered, point-proving exercises that too many ‘early music’ recordings have long presented.