Hidden Voices, Mozart Piano Sonatas, Volume III is the latest album by pianist Gil Sullivan. Exclusively available in Stereo Pure DSD 256 from NativeDSD, this is his 3rd DSD album on the Hunnia Records label.
Having listened for over half a century to tens of thousands of recordings of Mozart’s music, be it piano music, string quartets, symphonies, operas, et al, I have been hugely energized by these recordings. Not because they are so great, but because they are often so terrible!
The subterranean – often chromatic voices in Mozart’s music reveal him demonstrably as a composer far greater than merely a gifted melodist, and this is why I have called this series of recordings of the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas – Hidden Voices.
Any ten fingers of almost any pianist can play these relatively simple notes, that however require an altogether different pianist to metamorphose them into music. Since experiencing Mozart primarily as a youngster playing my first sonatas and concertos, I immediately felt there were deeper layers than just the melodic oil slick floating at the surface, so have been steadfastly drilling down to the nub of Mozart’s music throughout my long career as a concert performer.
Gil Sullivan, Pianist
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:04:39
|Original Recording Format
|August 11, 2023
As I said in my earlier review of Volume 1, these performances by Gil Sullivan are delightful, they are colorful, and they are dynamic. They fully utilize the dynamic capabilities of the modern Steinway grand piano. Sullivan is not into delicate, tinkly, prancing, tunes. He has something to say and he thinks Mozart does, too—he plays accordingly.
Not everyone may like this style of playing, and that’s okay. We’re entitle to our preferences in choosing what to listen to. But I, for one, most decidedly do like the the very direct and powerful style in which Sullivan plays these works. He also explores very different phrasing than some other pianists, often more like Alfred Brendel’s adventures in sound, say, than like Ronald Brautigam or Lili Krauss (both of whose playing I greatly enjoy). His interpretations are delightfully fresh. And he brings to his playing very high technical skills and a deeply communicative command of the music.
To hear such an accomplished pianist “drill down to the nub of Mozart’s music” is a real pleasure. And by accomplished, I mean truly so…
So, when I read some commenter at NativeDSD dissing these recordings by Gil Sullivan, I must simply shrug and say, as gently as I can, “We clearly are not hearing the same things and we clearly don’t share the same listening priorities.” I will leave the rest of my reaction unsaid. But I will add one final note: this is a Pure DSD256 recording, so it is performed virtually live with no overdubs and only very limited edits. There may have been multiple takes, but what we are hearing is largely a live in the studio performance. And that takes some technical skills to pull off.
Try these performances for yourself. NativeDSD offers full track streaming samples at 48kHz. I think you will find yourself as pleased as I am with what Gil Sullivan brings to share.
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