This two-fer was originally on Live Classics in an excellent chamber music series including such artists as Richter, Kagan, Yuri Bashmet (viola) and Natalia Gutman (cello). In these sonatas, Richter ans Kagan are a great team.
Perfect tempi throughout-quick outer movements and adagioesque slow movements, especially in Mozart k378 and 379. These movements are a bit slower and deeper than those in Grumiaux with Haskil and Klien, or Szeryng/Haebler (both longtime favorites). The two best Mozart
sonatas here are k378 and k379, especially k378/movements 1 and 2 and all of K379. This latter sonata I consider not only Mozart's
best VP sonata before the final three (K454,481, and 526), but one of his greatest works of any kind to date. including Idomeneo, the Sinfonia Concertante k364, the Piano concerto #9, and the piano sonatas k310 and 332. It begins with a lengthy slow "introduction" which Mozart seems unable or unwilling to end-it reminds one of piano concerti on the horizon. So does the second movement, a theme with variations, the highlight of which is a beautiful piano theme with a pizzicato violin. Kagan and Richter devour this sonata.
They add two fragmentary vp sonatas k404 and 372, lasting 3:52 and 2:31-attractive torsos only.
The Beethoven Sonatas are equally fine, especially movement three of opus 24-taken a bit more slowly than usual (it works by supplying more detail to savor)-and all of the Spring sonata. Both artists phrase/inflect carefully without sacrificing vitality.