Mozart/Jones review: Fascinating take on late fragments

Fri, May 7, 2021, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Mozart/Jones Violin Sonatas Fragment Completions

Artist:
Rachel Podger (violin), Christopher Glynn (fortepiano)

Label:
Channel Classics CCS SA 42721

Genre:
Classical

Timothy Jones has been tinkering with Mozart. But, then, Mozart himself also tinkered with music by other composers. As a pre-teen he adapted movements from sonatas by Schobert, Honauer, Raupach and Eckard to create new, mix’n’match piano concertos. He orchestrated Handel’s Messiah and Acis and Galatea to produce versions attuned to the tastes of his time rather than Handel’s. And of course one of Mozart’s own best-loved works – the Requiem he never managed to complete – is heard today in versions added to by other hands.

Timothy Jones has been engaged on a long project analysing late fragments of uncompleted works by Mozart and making completions of some of them. This album concentrates on pieces for piano with violin – four fragments into seven different completions – and adopts speculative compositional approaches based on preferences shown by Mozart at different dates. Jones is disarmingly modest about his work, saying, “of course, I have no idea how Mozart might have worked these fragments into finished pieces” and “my completions inevitably disfigure Mozart’s music”.

Yet in the sensitive performances of Rachel Podger and Christopher Glynn, these pieces work better than various fakes that have over the years been presented as authentic. Fascinating.