For eighty-four minutes Víkingur Ólafsson delights and dissertates as he shares music composed by composers contemporary to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, opening with an attractive Sonata movement by Galuppi, short and sweet, if put into the shade by WAM’s own F-major Rondo K494, fluently essayed by Ólafsson, who then turns to C. P. E. Bach and Cimarosa, both though outgunned by K397, the D-minor Fantasia, but a fragment if a profound one, and then the sparkle of K485, the (as played here) fleet D-major Rondo.
Further Cimarosa proves a real find in its expressive beauty, and Haydn’s B-minor Sonata (numbered as 47, presumably from Hoboken’s catalogue rather than Christa Landon’s) receives a virile outing. There are two other three-movement Sonatas, both by Mozart, C-major K545 & C-minor K457, both excellent, especially the latter’s driven drama, although some will be disappointed at Ólafsson’s minimal repeat scheme – but if he had observed more of them we would have fewer works – and not all will agree with the pianist’s decorations, however considered his choices, or like his over-pedalling for that matter: cloudy textures.
Also included is the quirky Kleine Gigue K574 (perhaps better known in Tchaikovsky’s orchestration) and a Mozart String Quintet (K516) movement as arranged by VÓ is a thing of loveliness, so too (if strictly not by a contemporary) Liszt’s heavenly transcription of the choral Ave verum corpus K618, although the end is surely over-protracted … and not forgetting the depth of feeling found in the B-minor Adagio K540. Overall, however, a few reservations. DG 486 0525.