Ten years after their acclaimed complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas, German violinist Isabelle Faust and Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov burst into their latest collaboration – recording Mozart’s works for fortepiano and violin, on period instruments – with a crisply sparkling Allegro con spirito in the K.306 Sonata in D Major. In this first volume, Faust and Melnikov bring together two Sonatas completed in 1777 in Paris, K.304 and K.306, with the K.526 A Major Sonata composed in the midst of Don Giovanni in 1787.

Faust’s keen sound (on her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Stradivarius), with some muscle in the low register, makes a brilliant counterpart to Melnikov’s glittering keyboard (a 1795 Anton Walter replica), playing very much in the spirit of Mozart’s conception of the pieces as “Duetti”. Faust’s sound takes on an edge in the K.306’s Andante cantabile, Melnikov wringing drama from the fortepiano, the period instruments and Harmonia Mundi’s recording give the performance an engaging sense of intimacy.

The E Minor K.304 is the album’s dark centre. Faust sighs over Melnikov’s descents in the Allegro while Melnikov’s opening bars in the Tempo di minuetto are heartbreaking – the delayed gratification of his ornaments are beautifully judged. The sun returns with the A Major Sonata – though the thoughtful Andante threatens clouds – the Presto’s virtuosic flurries capping off a compelling disc.

Composer: Mozart
Composition: Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin
Performer: Isabelle Faust v, Alexander Melnikov p
Catalogue Number: Harmonia Mundi HMM902360