Ivan Moravec, piano, Mozart: Piano Sonatas;Fantasia In C min.

Thomas Bartlett

By Thomas Bartlett

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Mozart: Piano Sonatas;Fantasia In C min.

Ivan Moravec, piano

Some of the great secret treasures of classical piano recording have resulted from the extensive library of audiophile-quality sessions, dating back to the early '60s, of Ivan Moravec, a Czech pianist of exceptional subtlety and grace, never a popular favorite but fanatically (and deservedly) adored by the cognoscenti.

Mozart’s masterpieces in all their sparkling perfection.

Mozart's music, for all its lucidity (or more accurately because of it) is exceptionally and deceptively difficult to play well; to create the right quality of effortless transparency, of absolute ease, without in the process making the music sound shallow, flippant, and ultimately trivial, is a trick that few pianists have mastered as well as Moravec. This is an oddly but effectively programmed disc, dispensing with the convention of programming the rhapsodic, improvisatory C Minor Fantasia as an introduction to the intense and melodramatic C Minor Sonata, and instead placing a B-flat Major Sonata on either side of the Fantasia, so that the program alternates between the gravity of C Minor and the warmth, generosity, and complimentary dignity of B-flat Major.

Moravec is superb throughout, playing with relaxed fluidity coupled with minute technical control, impeccably presenting the dazzling surfaces of Mozart's compositions in all their sparkling perfection, but also coaxing out their inner lives, every hidden nuance and whispered intimation.