A Dialogue With Mozart

Violinist Daniel Auner talks to us about his unique relationship with Mozart and his upcoming CD...
My new album, “Dialogue with Mozart” was awarded CD of the Month in the STRAD Magazine.

Going into a studio to record the 4239th Version of Mozart’s B-flat Major KV 454 Sonata only makes sense, if your musical ideas are so different from all the other ones that you just have to share them. As we all know, a recording is always a financial challenge, especially if you are young and have to cover the expenses from your own pockets. In today’s time as a musician you have to heed many subtleties to do justice to the composer’s acoustic ideal and phrasing wishes. I find it particularly important to concern myself with the harmonic structure of the works and the changed interpretation by performing on modern instruments.

If I go around the corner of my apartment in Vienna and into one of Mozart's flats, you can see where his piano stood and the table on that he wrote on just next to it. So as he composed most of his works from the piano, you can see an indication that many of his markings like e.g. Legato and linking arches should be understood in very pianistic terms - by slightly lifting your bow-hand off the string when you have small linking arches, like Mozarts bow did naturally.

We have worked very hard to show all structural nuances, carefully examined the handwritings and first prints in the Mozarteum Salzburg (a manuscript often tells a story, e.g. in the B flat major Sonata KV 454 , Mozart only put the violin part to paper and in concert accompanied the violinist by heart. After the concert, he sat down to the work once more and wrote the piano part at the bottom, although there was hardly room for it on the paper. If he had not done this, the sonata would only have been performed once!), finding clear mistakes in the existing editions, we played on original bows and pianos to find the right sound and still tried to be very aware of the danger of losing the spirit of ‘musical sensibility’ - not that the works were only examined for stressed and unstressed tempi, false ‘fortes’ and misplaced ‘sforzati’ and the living component of the music disappears.

For me, Mozart’s chamber music always has something very operatic about it. At the beginning of the F major Sonata KV 377, for instance, one could imagine to hear people running around excitedly behind the opera stage before the beginning of the performance and, in parallel, we hear singers rehearsing without interruption. With the abrupt end of the movement, the curtain opens and an aria is first introduced by the piano and then sung by the violin.

In my pianist Robin Green, I have found somebody who is great both on the piano and as a conductor and who thus paid special attention to taking sufficient account of the operatic features of Mozart’s chamber music in our recording. He is also a very easy person to work with and we are good friends and colleagues since many years. Being inside a recording studio and afterwards trying to find the best take out of 55 is not always easy, recording chamber music especially has a lot of potential for conflicts. It was our aim to make a recording focusing on dialogue, a dialogue between us musicians and a dialogue with Mozart. We allowed ourselves to be guided by his hints and this way found our own language for his music.

I hope you enjoy it. The video of me and Robin playing the first movement of the KV 377 Sonata is on my HELLO STAGE page.
Author: Daniel Auner / edited by Nina HELLO STAGE
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