Mozart - My Favorite Piano Sonatas / Michael Endres

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MOZART Piano Sonatas: in F, K 280 ; in F, K 332 ; in c, K 457 ; in C, K 545 ; in D, K 576 Michael Endres (pn) OEHMS 563 (73:08)

For this single CD sampler, Michael Endres chooses five of his personal favorite sonatas taken from his five-disc set of Mozart’s 18 sonatas for solo piano. The works range in dates from 1775 to 1789, K 280 to K 576, thus giving us an abbreviated travelogue, as it were, through the composer’s contributions to the genre from beginning to end.

Having listened to the disc three times now, and having compared it to recordings of these works I have by other pianists, I would make the following unorthodox suggestion: skip this teaser and spring for the whole set. Oehms is a midpriced label, and the five-CD set works out to approximately $11 per disc. Besides, once you hear the come-on, you’re going to want the rest of it anyway.

Of Bavarian birth, Michael Endres (b. 1961) has recorded the complete sonatas and all 400 German dances, Ländler, waltzes, and ecossaises of Schubert, as well as the complete piano works of Ravel, and the complete sonatas of Arnold Bax. His affinity for Mozart, however, strikes me as something special. These are non-demonstrative, ruminative readings that mull over Mozart’s scores, particularly the slow movements, as if they were quiet, timeless reveries that put me in mind of the kind of rapt stillness Beethoven achieves in the slow movement of his violin concerto. Endres has all the finger dexterity and technique required to toss these pieces off with bravado if he wanted to, but that’s not what he’s about. Even in the fast outer movements, he holds himself in reserve.

If you’re familiar with Mitsuko Uchida’s Mozart, you will find in Endres a somewhat kindred spirit, except that in comparing them, I hear in Endres a communicativeness that seems to go deeper to the core of Mozart’s soul and that resonates for me on a deeper personal level. Uchida’s beauty has always struck me as being more on the surface.

By no means is this the only way to play Mozart. I also have high regard for the complete set of sonatas played by Maria João Pires on DG, but hers is an entirely different view and approach, one that places emphasis on Mozart’s more extroverted side and on the virtuosic elements of these works. Endres, however, shall occupy a place of high favor in my collection. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: OC 563

  • UPC: 812864015621

  • Label: Oehms Classics

  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Performer: Michael Endres