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Mozart: Sonatas K 283, K 282, K 280, K 517 / David Fung

Release Date: 07/05/2019
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30107
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:  David Fung

Pianist David Fung is widely recognized for interpretations that are elegant and refined, yet intensely poetic and uncommonly expressive. His performances of Mozart sonatas are quasi-operatic, full of drama.

R E V I E W S:

Mozart's early piano sonatas are limpid works, not terribly difficult technically, and perhaps because of their very simplicity, have been subjected to an unusually large variety of interpretations. Young pianist David Fung deserves credit for devising fresh readings, and they have the additional virtue of fitting the general ethos of his new label, Steinway & Sons. Fung offers restless Mozart readings that one might imagine Liszt playing; for the most part, there are no delicate Mozart melodies
Read more here. Sample the first movement of the usually innocent Piano Sonata in G major, K. 283, all forward motion and piercing high notes. To his credit, Fung realizes that the late Piano Sonata in B flat major, K. 570, is a different ball of wax, and he plays this almost minimal, rather intellectual piece in a straightforward way. One wonders about the logic behind including three early sonatas and one late one, with none of the famous Mozart pieces like K. 331 (with the "Turkish" rondo) being included; several of them might have served Fung's aims well. However, this is undeniably bold Mozart, and that's a good thing.

-- AllMusic Guide

Pianist David Fung makes his Steinway & Sons recording debut with Mozart, whose intimacy and songfulness has been an alluring presence in Davidís life for as long as he can remember.

David Fung was intensely musical as a small boy growing up in Australia. After watching one of his brotherís violin lessons, five-year-old David, whoíd never played the violin, took hold of the instrument and shocked his family by attacking (with finesse) the very passage his brother was struggling with. Davidís violin lessons began then and there. At age eight, he took up the piano, and fell passionately under its spell. In his teens, he found the pianoís magic won out over his love of the violin.

But despite his incredible prowess and competitive success as a young pianist, he chose to follow his brotherís footsteps and become a doctor. It took only a couple of years of medical school to feel the void that came with leaving music behind. He switched gears, moving on to become the first piano graduate of the prestigious Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles. Yale came next. At 22, he won top prizes at the Queen Elisabeth and Arthur Rubinstein Competitions. Now heís a busy globetrotter with friends in cities around the world. ďI have become accustomed to saying hello and good-bye in the same breath,Ē he says.

Through it all, Fung has had an intense attraction to Mozart. It goes back to his earliest memories of listening to music, when his motherís career as a singer helped to bring him into Mozartís lyrical universe. For his debut recording on the Steinway & Sons label, David Fung has chosen a very personal program: three of Mozartís early piano sonatas, and, as a closer, the penultimate masterpiece Ė the Piano Sonata No. 17.

There are heartbreaking movements (listen to the Adagio of the 2nd Sonata, track 8) where Fung pulls his phrases from a special silence that is exclusive to the tender world of Mozart. Voices arrive and disappear, in and out of the atmosphere of their circumstances, just as they do in the operas. Fung relishes the art of exploring Mozartís characters Ė giving them freedom to breathe, and casting them in darkness and light to help reveal their humanity. All that from music that, at first blush, can seem so simple.

-- WCRB [Classical Radio Boston]
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