Midem Classique Award winner Christian Zacharias continues his survey of Mozart Piano Concertos as both performer & conductor. Featuring arguably 1 of the most famous, the A Major. MDG’s complete recording of Mozart’s piano compositions with Christian Zacharias in the double role as pianist & conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra continues with KV 488, certainly the most-performed piano concerto by the great Salzburg composer, complemented here by KV 246 & KV 175, Mozart’s very 1st piano concerto.
This volume in the series seems to have taken a step up, with playing which previously might have been a little cosy now edgier & with more contrast in light & shade. The overall ensemble is excellent, & these are very good Mozart concerto interpretations indeed. Sound quality is up to MDG’s usual high standard, with a well-scaled ambience in Mch, & the 2+2+2 channel setup with height channels works fine in my 5.1 setup, despite my not reassigning the centre & sub speaker.
In this 3rd volume, Zacharias’ Mozart becomes essential, if not quintessential, in a universe for piano & concerto that is fascinating. The Concerto for Piano & Orchestra #17 in G major KV 453 dates from 1784, & inspired the musician Alfred Einstein to say: “In a friendly key are hidden many mysterious smiles & painful wounds – words cannot be found to describe the permanent irisation of feelings in the 1st movement, the passionate interiority of the 2nd.”
Will listeners raised on virtuoso performances of Mozart’s piano concertos be able to make room in the hearts for Christian Zacharias’ recordings with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne? It depends on how willing they are to forego the pleasures of virtuosity for the pleasures music-making. This is not to say that Zacharias isn’t a virtuoso pianist. As his 20 years of recordings make very clear, he has talents & abilities far beyond those of most mortal pianists.
Not just because this disk is the only 1 in the series without a review on this site, but also because it concerns a re-issue in SACD format, I thought it might be useful to share my views with the Super Audio community. To start with the end: My verdict is a wholehearted positive 1 in both artistic & technical sense.
The Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, K. 525 was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1787. The work is more commonly known by the title Eine kleine Nachtmusik. The German title means "a little serenade", though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as "a little night music". The work is written for a chamber ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras…
"…In the hands of Willems and Brautigam, this masterpiece is given a first class performance, particularly in its buoyant Finale, a sonata-rondo in which the piano and orchestra really are cavorting joyfully together. The two concertos on this disc's menu may well offer the best performances of the series so far, yielding first class solo and orchestral playing as well as the best recording of any period Mozart concerto series at this time." ~sa-cd.net
…With a bright tone, buoyant tempos, piquant intonation, effortless ensemble, and relaxed virtuosity, the 12 musicians of La Petite Bande play together with exactly the kind of elegant brilliance and elevated intelligence the music requires. Under Kuijken's hands, these works, composed by the teenage Mozart, sound fresh, witty, tender, and altogether endearing. As delightful an addition to any Mozart shelf as it would be a welcome relief from the spiritual rigors of Bach's cantatas, this disc will please just about every classical enthusiast, especially in Accent's clear, deep 2006 digital sound.