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  Ludi Musici
  LM 001 (2 discs)
  Mozart in Paris 1778 - Anton Steck, Marieke Spaans
  Mozart: Sonatas for violin and keyboard K.301-306

Anton Steck (violin)
Marieke Spaans (tangentenflügel)
Track listing:
  Classical - Chamber
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 1

Review by miguelito54 May 22, 2007 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This set is one of the most interesting contributions to the "Mozart year".
It presents the "6 sonates pour forté piano avec accompagnement d'un violon" K 301-306 pubished as opus 1, with Marieke Spaans on an anonymous tangent piano from 1789 and Anton Steck on a Jacobus Stainer violin from 1658.
The recorded sound is bright and clear with quite a bit of room ambience - perhaps a smaller room would have suited these intimate works better, especially as violinist Anton Steck compares a chamber performance in Mozart's time with the listener(s) at home today as far as intimacy and repertoire are concerned.
The playing itself is beyond criticism: Lively, full of variety, taking the music serious as an important cycle of works at this point in Mozart's life and career. The presentation is exemplary: The booklet with an elaborate commentary positioning the music in Mozart's biography and historical context, in English, French, and German; short biographies of the performers and an interview with historic piano expert Matthias Kramer, who restored the anonymous tangent piano used here. His research implies that the tangent piano (i.e. a keyboard with "naked" wooden hammers) may have been in much wider use in Southern Germany than previously thought. Mozart's own Walter piano could well have been a tangent instrument, and it gives the music a very transparent character, allowing the pianist full dynamics without ever overpowering the violin or the bass register being too prominent, which would be the case with a modern instrument. As many excellent Mozart recording there are on historic keyboards, this writer whishes for a Mozart piano sonatas SACD by Marieke Spaans.
The two discs contain 50 or 45 minutes of music and 25 or 17 minutes of interviews with the performers (in German language!). Perhaps the label (which seems to make its respectable debut with this set) should start a website with transcriptions of the interviews for those not speaking German, as their contents are worth noting.

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Works: 6  

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in A major, K. 305/293d
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in C major, K. 303/293c
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in D major, K. 306/300l
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in E flat major, K. 302/293b
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in E minor, K. 304/300c
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Sonata in G major, K. 301/293a