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Consummate Mastery

Zeynep Ucbasaran
plays Mozart -
enjoyed by

'... an art of crystalline clarity.'

Mozart: Early Piano Sonatas. Zeynep Ucbasaran. © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

Can there be any pleasure more exquisite than to sit on a Cairo balcony in the cool of the evening, with the clear vault of the sky above, a distant muezzin call now and then, and the incomparable Mozart to beguile the hours? With these four CDs and thirteen sonatas Zeynep Ucbasaran brings her complete cycle to a close. The works have not been recorded in chronological order, so that of the six Munich sonatas only four appear here. Mozart then moves on to Mannheim and Paris to complete the early set. All the later sonatas were written in Vienna, except K333, which originated in Linz.

The Steinway grand used for the recording is very different from the Stein and Streicher fortepianos Mozart was accustomed to; but Zeynap Ucbasaran's musicianship is such that she conjures from the modern concert instrument all the delicacy and subtlety of tone that a Mozart instrument can provide. Nor have contemporary habits imposed any undue speeds. The performances are clearly the result of deep thought distilled into an art of crystalline clarity. At the beginning of the F major sonata K280 Mozart, as so often, contrives to be both Haydnesque and himself.

Listen -- Mozart: Allegro assai (Sonata in F, K280)
(JDT3403 CD1 track 4, 0:00-1:19) © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

Away from the watchful and critical eye of his father, for six months in 1778 Mozart was trying his luck in Paris. His memory as a wunderkind was still green, and initially he was chaperoned by his mother. But in the July she fell mortally ill and died. This was a family catastrophe that made Mozart's dealings with his father the more strained. Leopold could not understand why the wayward son should not at once return to Salzburg. But the Paris bereavement produced an A minor piano sonata with new urgency and depth. The keyboard writing in the finale has even an anticipatory whiff of Brahms.

Listen -- Mozart: Presto (Sonata in A minor, K310)
(JDT3403 CD2 track 6, 0:00-1:02) © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

Mozart: Late Piano Sonatas. Zeynep Ucbasaran. © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

This admirable pianist hails from Turkey, and had her first music lessons in Istanbul, where I would cheerfully migrate if needing to quit Cairo. So I was fascinated to hear what she would make of the Janissary noises in the Turkish rondo of K331 from the later set. It begins with a beguiling charm that makes the crash-bang of the ritual percussive sounds the more impressive.

Listen -- Mozart: Alla Turca -- Allegretto (Sonata in A, K331)
(JDT3404 CD1 track 3, 0:00-1:04) © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

Last but not least is the graceful finale to K333, the first and only Mozart sonata I learnt to play as a schoolboy, mentioned merely in bashful modesty when faced with the consummate mastery of the present pianist.

Listen -- Mozart: Allegretto (Sonata in B flat, K333)
(JDT3404 CD2 track 3, 0:00-1:44) © 2008 Eroica Classical Recordings

Copyright © 24 August 2008 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt


W A Mozart
Early Sonatas

JDT 3403 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE (2 CDs) 61'27"/56'19" - TT 117'46" 2008 Zeynep Ucbasaran

Zeynep Ucbasaran, piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Sonata in C K279 (Allegro; Andante; Allegro); Sonata in F K280 (Allegro assai; Adagio; Presto); Sonata in B flat K281 (Allegro; Andante amoroso; Rondeau - Allegro); Sonata in G K283 (Allegro; Andante; Presto); Sonata in C K309 (Allegro con spirito; Andante, un poco adagio; Rondeau - Allegretto grazioso); Sonata in A minor K310 (Allegro maestoso; Andante cantabile con espressione; Presto); Sonata in D K311 (Allegro con spirito; Andante con espressione; Rondeau - Allegro)

W A Mozart
Late Sonatas

JDT 3404 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE (2 CDs) 58'11"/60'16" - TT 118'27" 2008 Zeynep Ucbasaran

Zeynep Ucbasaran, piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Sonata in A K331 (Andante grazioso; Menuetto - Trio; Alla Turca - Allegretto); Sonata in F K332 (Allegro; Adagio; Allegro assai); Sonata in C K545 (Allegro; Andante; Allegro assai); Sonata in B flat K333 (Allegro; Andante cantabile; Rondo - Allegretto); Sonata in B flat K570 (Allegro; Adagio; Allegretto); Sonata in D K576 (Allegro; Adagio; Allegretto)




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