Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844): The Complete Piano Chamber Music


With this release of the complete piano chamber music by Franz Xaver Mozart, the Equilibrium label not only fills an important gap in the catalog, but also adds rare substance to our perception of the composer's father, Wolfgang Amadeus. Franz Xaver's chamber music with piano is made up of two violin sonatas, a sonata for cello and a quartet for piano and strings. All four works are on this CD. I couldn't find any evidence these sonatas have been recorded before, but for certain, there are no alternate versions currently available.

Born in 1791, Franz Xaver was the youngest of six children born to Wolfgang Amadeus and Constanze Mozart, only two of whom survived infancy. Born only four months before his father's death, Franz Xaver must nevertheless have felt the full force of his father's greatness throughout his life, especially as he too was a composer. There's little doubt that being the son of Mozart opened doors for the young Franz Xaver; he was a student of Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Hummel and found employment among royalty and the aristocracy.

His output as a composer is relatively small, and is virtually all chamber music and pieces for solo piano. The sample track posted in the sidebar with this recommendation is the third movement Presto of the Violin Sonata Op. 7. It's typical of the finales to F.X. Mozart's solo sonatas, lively and uncomplicated with the two instruments as equal partners, sharing and trading off the melodic material The video below is the opening Allegro vivace to the Quartet for Piano and Strings, Op. 1, although it should be noted that the performance was not pulled from this album. These two samples give a good feeling for the composer's late Classical / early Romantic style and if you enjoy it, you'll find much more music of its kind on this album.

The performances are by an excellent group of soloists: violinists Aaron Berofsky and Kathryn Votapek, cellist Suren Bagratuni and pianist Christopher Harding. Equilibrium supplies good sound. Perhaps not a library essential, but nevertheless, if Franz Xaver Mozart is not currently represented in your collection, this release provides a neat and enjoyable remedy.