Mozart: Piano Concertos Vol 9 / Christian Zacharias, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
MOZART Piano Concertos: No. 12 in A , K 414 ; No. 26 in D, K 537 • Christian Zacharias (pn, cond); Lausanne C O • MDG GOLD 940 1759-6 (54:20)
This release, Volume 9 in Christian Zacharias’s ongoing cycle of the Mozart piano concertos, is wonderfully satisfying in every way. I can’t imagine that anyone could find any fault with his natural-sounding piano playing, the clear, sweet sound of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the spacious, clear recorded sound, or, of course, the music itself.
The 12th concerto is an early example of the special grace and intimate expression found in Mozart’s other notable works in A Major: the 23rd concerto, the quintet and concerto for clarinet. The untroubled, celebratory 26th concerto, usually referred to as the “Coronation”, though not here, is sometimes regarded as a less profound work than the other late Mozart concertos, but it has always been a favorite of mine. Zacharias’s wonderful phrasing, glorious ornamentation, and profound understanding of the nuances of Mozart’s keyboard style now make this my favorite performance of the piece, displacing Murray Perahia’s fine account. (I won’t give away a delightful timbral surprise that happens in the cadenza of the first movement.) In general, MDG’s recording adds some resonance to the sound of the piano, with the orchestra providing a sonic foil that’s crisp by comparison, a very pleasing overall balance.
If the other volumes in this series are comparably excellent—and Scott Noriega’s review of the 24th and 25th concertos in 36:1 indicates that they are—then Zacharias’s Mozart cycle may surpass the very best ones that use the modern piano and simply qualify as a life-enhancing event.
FANFARE: Paul Orgel
Catalog Number: 9401759-6
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: Christian Zacharias
Orchestra/Ensemble: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
Performer: Christian Zacharias