December 10, 2011 12:01 am

Mozart/Michael Haydn: Duo Sonatas

Engaging performances of the composer’s easily overlooked recreational works
 

Mozart/Michael Haydn

Duo Sonatas

Rachel Podger and Jane Rogers

(Channel Classics)

4 stars

Amid the wealth of music Mozart bequeathed us, his two quasi-conversational duo sonatas for violin and viola are easily overlooked. They were written in 1783 on the back of the Sinfonia concertante – and like that masterpiece, they accord the viola a more equal role than was customary.

What these engaging performances underline is how skilfully Mozart transformed two-part writing into four-part textures. His sonatas are played in alternation with two by his friend Michael Haydn – folksier in mood, and with the viola reduced to an accompanying role. Podger and Rogers, experts in bringing life to period style, lend these recreational works the flair they deserve.

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