Monday, March 20, 2017

Wanda Landowska: Mozart Sonata No. 13 (1956)


Via: Youtube

Wanda Landowska [born in Warsaw, Poland; 1879–1959] performs Mozart Sonata No. 13 in B flat major (K 333), which scholars say Mozart completed in the Austrian city of Linz at the end of 1783. Landowska, of course, is well-known for playing the harpsichord, her beloved French-made Pleyel (she called it “my very dear companion and friend, my love, my baby”), yet she does a marvelous job on the more modern instrument, the piano. You can hear her enjoyment and pleasure coming through; you can hear the sound of beauty.

Landowska was in her late seventies when she recorded this piece at her home in Lakeville, CT. The 2 LP box set was released by RCA Victor in 1956, to mark the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s birth (he was born on January 27th). This sonata is on Side B of the first album. This piece reminds me of spring, and thus it is dedicated to its timely return today.

1. Allegro
2. Andante cantabile (8:32)
3. Allegretto grazioso (21:44)

For those interested, there is an interview with Landowska [here], which was broadcast by WQXR New York (part of New York Public Radio). In it she discusses her views of Mozart and the interpretation of his music. There is an earlier interview [here], from 1953, for the NBC-TV program Wisdom, which aired from 1957–1965. In it, she explains her love of the harpsichord, how she worked assiduously to gain its wide public acceptance, and how it differs from the piano, which is better known.


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