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Dip Your Ears, Addendum 48c (Hahn's Mozart)

available at AmazonW.A.Mozart, Violin Sonatas,
H.Hahn / N.Zhu

Hilary Hahn and her friend Natalie Zhu do much for Mozart with their recording of the F major (K. 376), G major (K. 301), E minor (K. 304), and A major (K. 526) Sonatas for Piano and Violin. They are played on modern, 'conventional' instruments, but the reading is much more than just conventional. It is spirited and most enjoyable. Still, these are not Mozart’s strongest works. Of course, you’d never know by the slew of violin sonata issues that await us this year: the Manze/Egarr team treat us to original instruments. I thought that Rachel Podger and Gary Cooper (whose Volume Two of the complete set is coming soon) would be difficult to surpass. The new recording of Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr, however, seems to do so. (For lack of any overlap between the two discs a comparison is a little unfair, perhaps, but Manze/Egarr skate more melodiously through the sonatas.)

Original instruments, in works that should not automatically have the violinist named first on the cover, are no prerequisite for enjoyment of Mozart, though, even to HIP-spoiled ears. There was one album with a modern grand piano that did proved that this year – and completely out of the blue, too. Mitsuko Uchida and Mark Steinberg (who? - Exactly!) are the only two players to date that have convinced me that K. 377, K. 303, K. 304, and K. 526 are truly great works of music. Youthful energy that Hahn/Zhu bring to the table, they may not stop Uchida/Steinberg on their way to a ‘The Best Recordings of 2005’ spot at ionarts.