- Sonata for violin & piano No. 18 in G major, K. 301 (K. 293a)
- Sonata for violin & piano No. 20 in C major, K. 303 (K. 293c)
- Variations (6) on "Hélas, j'ai perdu mon amant," for violin & piano in G major, K. 360 (K. 374b)
- Sonata for violin & piano No. 19 in E flat major, K. 302 (K. 293b)
- Variations (12) on "La bergère Célimene," for violin & piano in G major, K. 359 (K. 374a)
Mozart's sonatas for violin and piano, although not technically demanding, are surprisingly often given unsatisfactory performances. The problem is that they reverse the configuration the listener expects: they are not pieces for violin accompanied by piano, but vice versa. The cover of this disc, rather than using the misleading "sonatas for violin and piano" or the confusing "sonatas for piano and violin," opts for the simple duo sonatas designation. The balance between the two instruments is tricky, and just catching the dynamic ebb and flow of the music is a challenge. This British period-instrument release solves the problems as few other recordings have. The case for using a fortepiano rather than a harpsichord in the early sonatas, composed in Mannheim in 1778, is strong; while the harpsichord was still more common, this was close to the time Mozart first heard the new fortepiano, which clearly shaped the design of some of the keyboard sonatas written around this time, and the cover of the published sonatas, reproduced in the superb booklet, clearly states, "Pour Clavecin ou Forté Piano." Keyboardist Geoffrey Govier uses a copy of a Walter instrument from the 1790s, and he exploits the virtues of fortepiano performance in readings that are restrained but build up nicely to points of excitement in the sonata-allegro forms of the sonatas' opening movements. Veteran British violinist Catherine Mackintosh, using a bow from the late eighteenth century, is similarly lively and sensitive (the two perform together as Duo Amadè, specifically devoted to the violin-and-piano music of Mozart). A positive point with this particular disc is the inclusion of two variation sets on French popular songs, written in 1781 and among the least often programmed works of the mature Mozart. These performances make you wonder why that should be, for both sets are imaginative pieces that show Mozart restlessly experimenting with the relationship between the two instruments. Govier and Mackintosh capture the restlessness inherent in Mozart's treatment of this entire genre, and this recording shows them to be Mozartians of the first order.