- Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332 (K. 300k)
- Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K. 333 (K. 315c)c
- Piano Sonata No. 14 in C minor, K. 457
- Adagio for piano in B minor, K. 540
The final release in Philips's series of recordings celebrating the 70th birthday of Alfred Brendel finds the pianist combining two of Mozart's most sun-filled sonatas with a pair of his darkest works for piano. The opening F Major Sonata, K. 332, begins with a gently rocking melody that becomes a gracious query in Brendel's hands, answered affirmatively by the hunting-horn second theme. In the arioso Adagio, Brendel makes Mozart's lavishly ornamented reprise sound utterly spontaneous, and the Allegro Assai is a breathless dash, ending with a whispered final cadence, like the faint echo of distant clatter. The graceful B-flat Major Sonata, K. 333, which follows, is poised but has a sense of urgency, culminating with the Allegro Grazioso's high-spirited cadenza. In the C Minor Sonata, K. 457, though, Brendel seems fully to find his voice, playing the first movement's agitated music with a feverish conviction. The Adagio is a heartfelt aria, a song without words, and the finale's fitful phrases build to a clamorous, Beethoven-esque conclusion. The Adagio in B Minor, K. 540, closes the program with a plaintive, introspective monologue; its forward-looking, chromatic harmonies support a sorrowful melody. The other releases in this series -- whether the Schubert sonatas, the Mozart concertos, or the Salzburg live recital -- have shown Brendel to be an artist whose interpretive powers have only deepened with time. No exception, ths album is an impressive and fitting conclusion.