Sergiu Luca's way with Mozart is elegant but not quite delicate and his concert at the Coolidge Auditorium last night was one of strong and exciting music. It was the penultimate of a series of programs dedicated to Mozart's violin sonatas played with authentic instruments, in this case a Gagliano violin with gut strings and slackened tension as well as a Betts transitional bow. Malcolm Bilson accompanied at the fortepiano, a well-mannered replica of the type that Mozart himself used. The playing transcended academic novelty and revealed much beauty in this neglected repertory.
A remarkable control of dynamics and lovingly shaped phrases marked the four sonatas given. Two short ones, K. 301 and K. 302, had a dancer's verve and impeccable line. The majestic A Major Sonata, K. 526 received a dashing reading. It was the evening's only adagio, in the E-flat Major Sonata K. 481, that became curiously shy in pitch and impatient in tempo. But even here the impish piano attacks were charming and outer movements shone.
The instrument is not quite a mature violin, its sound at times could crack like an adolescent's voice. Luca has mastered it and in the process has made a very good case for hearing this music in the instruments the composer intended.