Surely the best Mozart solo piano CD of the past year



With playful, witty, childish, full of original and kindly embellished ornaments, the first sonata is a joy to start Prosseda’s wonderfully executed Mozart disc. The minor tone sections are subtly juxtaposed against the major ones emphasising period and style rather than drama. The slow movement avoids glass like fragility and focuses on the naïve searches in tonality and colour. The third movement benefits from a wonderful dialogue between the right and left hands… The second sonata is no less impressive where, in the second movement, the pianist adds weight, just a tad, but the dynamics changes throughout are full of expression and confidence. The last movement prefers sharpness and clarity and the bass line is never compromised… The third and fourth are the least interesting of these early sonatas, yet both are played along the lines of the earlier two, in stylish, modest fashion with attention to detail and a high level of consistency throughout. The last two sonatas of this first group of six show a more energetic side of his, but never letting articulation and dynamics out of control…

Prosseda’s Mozart is interesting mostly because it avoids an eccentric reading favoured by contemporary pianists, such as Say, and nor does it stick to a classical reading of the post-war era. Prosseda is not obsessive about beauty of sound and just seems to find the perfect balance between touch and dramatic progress, always in style and with a personal touch. He refines delicacy and emphasis to the most essential points and lets the music flow… Is that all about this marvellously executed CD? Apparently no. Prosseda’s CD is a case in point in period playing and thinking. It is also, in a way, the antithesis of Say’s cycle. Readers of Andante will recall the undersigned’s criticism that whilst Say combined the same key sonatas within the same disc, this amounted to no clear purpose or musical conclusion and indeed it just could not. Mozart’s key choices do not reflect any common musical thinking at all. This is partly due to the unequal temperament of Mozart’s times. Prosseda refutes Say in style. He preserves the KV order of the sonatas, but (although he plays them on a modern Fazioli, which reveals a very open, spacious sound) he tuned each sonata in unequal temperament, depending on the key of the sonata. That is why, readers of the above paragraph may momentarily think I was unimpressed by a lack of innovation and differences in the sonatas. On the contrary, once the first three sonatas are heard and Prosseda’s consistent and modest style more than satisfies, then comes the surprise package; the natural differences in sound due to each key having a distinctive sound. The harmonic changes thus become the most sensual touches Mozart produced and a marvel to hear… Surely the best Mozart solo piano CD of the past year.

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