SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

MOZART: Piano Concertos No. 12 K. 414; No. 26 K. 537 – Christian Zacharias, piano and cond. the Lausanne Ch, Orch. – MDG

The conclusion of the second complete Mozart Piano Concerto cycle with Christian Zacharias.

Published on October 4, 2012

MOZART: Piano Concertos No. 12 K. 414; No. 26 K. 537 – Christian Zacharias, piano and cond. the Lausanne Ch, Orch. – MDG

MOZART: Piano Concertos No. 12 K. 414; No. 26 K. 537 “Coronation” – Christian Zacharias, piano & cond. the Lausanne Ch. Orch. – MDG multichannel SACD 94017596, 54:00 [Distr. by E1] ****:

Christian Zacharias’s second complete recorded Mozart piano concerto cycle concludes with two of the more unassuming examples in which the pianist and orchestra have found a warmly brisk and yet comfortable gait, as if they were conscious of winding things up with ultimately fond rather than exhilarating reflections.

The performance of the little A Major, K. 414, which curiously and anti-climatically comes second on the CD, is shy without being coy and happy without being insouciant; it is a difficult piece to take the measure of unless you are willing to risk an incongruous no-holds barred reading of the kind recorded live by Benjamin Britten many years ago.

The Coronation Concerto is another matter; routinely underrated, the core elegance of this music, the way Mozart infuses sexual energy at key spots throughout, and the necessity to supply cadenzas of the performer’s own choosing–in this case, an absolutely magical first movement example written by Zacharias, including few bars sounding just like a child’s toy piano– make K. 537 among the most delectable of secret Mozartian pleasures.

The pianist’s solo lines, finely measured and laid down, are enhanced by the the inner clarity of the orchestra and its delightful woodwinds in a superbly-balanced SACD recording made in the Métropole concert hall in Lausanne which is at the same time natural, accurate and so physically beautiful that at times the sound verges on sumptuous.

—Laurence Vittes




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