Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol 5 - Zacharias

Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol 5 - Zacharias

MDG Gold  940 1562-6

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Mozart: Piano Concerto in D major K.175, Piano Concerto in C major K.246, Piano Concerto in A major K.488

Christian Zacharias (piano)
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

Double Feature
Our complete recording of Mozart’s piano compositions with Christian Zacharias in a double role as pianist and 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 and KV 175, Mozart’s very first piano concerto.

Creative Property
Mozart himself regarded his first piano concerto of December 1773 as a gem. Five years later he continued to enjoy great success with it in Mannheim “because here it pleases quite well,“ as he proudly reported to his father. And even at his Vienna academies of 1782-83 the concerto still figured significantly for him. When he sent its new finale, the Rondo (KV 382), to his father, he wrote, “I made it especially for me, and nobody but my dear sister can play it after me.”

Interpretive Misappropriation
Mozart in any case always viewed the interpretation of his works by third parties with skepticism and criticism. He was especially hard on Abbé Vogler, who played the Concerto in C major (KV 246) in Mannheim in 1778. He expressed his dismay as follows in a letter to his father: “Before the table he did a sloppy prima vista job on my concerto. The first piece was prestissimo, the andante was allegro, and the rondeau was really prestississimo. He played the bass mostly otherwise as written, and sometimes he did an entirely different harmony and melody too.”

Special Perfection
Christian Zacharias and his Lausanne musicians certainly would not have been given such a dressing down. On this recording the very special appeal lent by these award-winning interpreters in particular to the frequently performed Concerto in A major (KV 488) very clearly brings out the individual effect of this work instrumented with clarinets instead of oboes and entirely without timpani and trumpets.

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Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - April 27, 2010

A worthy successor to Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol 3 - Zacharias and Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol 4 - Zacharias.

Unlike the earlier volumes on SACD, this disc places the famous A major concerto K488 between two much earlier works (C major K246 and D major K175) - the "meat" stands out from the "bread" clearly despite the same level of dedication in the playing granted to all three works.

Similar qualities are brought to the works that Zacharias found in the companion discs; a neatly disciplined chamber orchestra that is permitted some tasteful vibrato and a drier slightly more percussive sound from the piano than previous generations of pianists frequently utilised. Put altogether, these traits make for extremely fresh playing especially as the playing is mercifully free of distracting mannerisms that can all too easily detract from such wonderful music. The tragic eloquence of K488's Adagio is laid bare for all to hear and almost feel the anguish that comes as such a shock to the bucolic sunshine movements that envelope it. The more straightforwardly Classical works are dealt with more respect than has been granted from other pianists, with not a note feeling out of place nor superfluous or invested with excessive meaning. The playing just seems to wipe clean a very fine work and display it without adding anything that wasn't intended to be present - lovely!

The sound is also one of MDG's better 2+2+2 efforts, any balance problems between woodwind and the rest of the ensemble seeming banished.

Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2010 John Broggio and


Sonics (Multichannel):

stars stars

2+2+2 recording