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Kristian Bezuidenhout has signed off his highly regarded survey of Mozart’s solo keyboard works with a flourish: a double- CD that features two late and two early sonatas, three sets of variations and a miscellany of brief or incomplete pieces. As on most previous volumes, he plays a Paul McNulty copy of an 1805 Anton Walter fortepiano, with a brisk action, lightly chiming tone and unequal temperament that all contribute to the discs’ engaging sound-world.

The late sonatas, the popular K545, ‘for beginners’, and the ebullient yet technically challenging K576, are the major works here, and each elicits a fine performance from Bezuidenhout. As John Irving observes in his CD notes, K545 is an example of ‘apparent simplicity disguising profound art’, and that disguise has misled many performers who make the sonata sound precious and prettified. In contrast, Bezuidenhout’s characterful account infuses the outer movements with a zestful energy, and is attentive to the Andante’s shades of nuance. He’s no less persuasive in the festive K576, Mozart’s final sonata, and in the fascinating Allegro fragments, K400 and K312, both completed by Robert Levin, who also completed the Sarabande from K399, Mozart’s charming though unfinished version of a Baroque suite.

Bezuidenhout is not always so convincing. A more flamboyant approach might have helped in the K179 and K352 variations, crowd-pleasing concert pieces that allowed Mozart to show off his virtuosity. And the early sonatas perhaps need a more loving touch, though the pianist is sensitive to the troubled beauty of K280’s soul-searching Adagio, ‘the most emotionally expressive’ movement, says Irving, in all of Mozart’s early keyboard works.

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Piano International, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing