Playing Mozart like Mozart Played

Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout
Kristian Bezuidenhout has just released his first disc for Harmonia Mundi, "Mozart Sonatas for fortepiano and violin."
Paul Miller

Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout has just released his first disc for Harmonia Mundi. It's an all Mozart disc of what were called in the 18th century "Keyboard Sonatas with Violin Accompaniment." He plays three of these sonatas, plus a set of variations, with his long-time friend, violinist and co-director of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Petra Mullejans.

CD cover
Kristian Bezuidenhout's first disc with Harmonia Mundi of Mozart sonatas with violinist Petra Mullejans.
Harmonia Mundi

Mr. Bezuidenhout explains that by the time of Mozart, the violin was starting to become more of a shared partner in the chamber music setting. Although that didn't keep Mozart from writing out only the violin part and then improvising the piano part live on the concert-stage. He would later attempt to capture the moment, hurriedly transcribing the event down later on manuscript paper.

So playing this music, Mr. Bezuidenhout feels, requires spontaneity, capriciousness and daring-do to capture how the music might have really sounded when first heard. Mr. Bezuidenhout gives us a few moments of his time to talk about the "improvisatory" quality in playing Mozart sonatas, how Sonata in G major, K.379 got its name the "one hour sonata," and why the pianist gets top billing