Mozart: Piano Concertos Vol 4 / Zacharias, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
Also available in standard Stereo.
MOZART Piano Concertos: No. 19 in F; No. 20 in d • Christian Zacharias (pn, cond); Lausanne CO • MDG 940 1529 (Hybrid multichannel SACD 57:17)
This CD can be deeply admired on a number of levels. Zacharias is a supremely elegant pianist, ideal for Mozart in so many ways. He feels the pulse naturally, finding rhythmic subtlety in a way that underlies the theatrical sense of the music, and his precision and pearly tonality are a delight to the ear. He also demonstrates the real artistic virtue of being both the orchestral conductor and soloist in the Mozart concertos. There is, when it is done at the high level that is achieved here, a chamber-music-like intimacy that is much harder to manage when there are two strong personalities involved. The magnificent, bewitching timbral blending that belongs to Mozart alone is heard with much greater presence this way. As the icing on the cake, there is the superb recorded sound achieved by MDG producer Werner Dabringhaus, one of the best in the business.
Yes, Virginia, there is a caveat. All of the qualities described above lead to a heavenly account of the F-Major Concerto, separated by a mere two months from one of Mozart’s darkest works, the D-Minor Concerto. In that music, despite a general excellence in execution, Zacharias shows just enough emotional reticence, as evinced in too little dynamic contrast and a lack of the last degree of urgency in the stormier passages to keep this reading out of the first tier. I’m not suggesting that a pianist needs to tear up the keyboard; it is possible to combine elegance and fire, as do Uchida, Brendel, and Pletnev, or among great older recordings, Schnabel, Kempff, or Michelangeli. On the other hand, I can easily imagine other listeners preferring the cooler style of Zacharias, which handily conveys the spirit of the music. This is, without a doubt, a very beautiful Mozart disc, part of an ongoing series that deserves the highest attention, especially to those who can live without a growl in this music.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
Catalog Number: 9401529-6
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: Christian Zacharias
Orchestra/Ensemble: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
Performer: Christian Zacharias