Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 / Christian Zacharias

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Christian Zacharias always has been a sympathetic and dedicated Mozartian, and although in general I dislike the inevitable compromises attendant on conducting piano concertos from the keyboard, this disc features remarkably few of them. Indeed, Concerto No. 22 sounds about as fine as it ever has, with wonderfully lively outer movements (great verve in the "hunt" finale) and a beautifully singing Andante with excellent contributions from the solo winds of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. All of this compares strikingly to the soggy and soporific Schumann concerto from these same forces, where Zacharias' limitations as conductor-at-the-keyboard are all too obvious in such richly Romantic music. Here conductor, composer, and orchestra seem ideally suited to each other.

That said, Piano Concerto No. 27 is not quite as fine, though still very good, perhaps because of a tendency to "feminize" its already gentle textures in the first movement, and because of its general want of more tension. Certainly conductors like Szell (Sony) and Vegh (Decca) play this music just as elegantly, but with an additional element of fantasy and character--a function of phrasing more than tempo. As far as the keyboard element goes, aside from that habit of going a little weak at the knees at the ends of phrases, Zacharias is very fine, his tone sweet and limpid and his technical arsenal very much in place. Excellent balances and very warm, clean recorded sound round out an almost perfect package, and that stunning Concerto No. 22 (one of Mozart's greatest and comparatively neglected to boot) earns this disc a solid recommendation.
--David Hurwitz,
Reviewing original release of this recording

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 9401182-6

  • UPC: 760623118260

  • Label: MDG

  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Conductor: Christian Zacharias

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra

  • Performer: Christian Zacharias