Frank Peter Zimmermann demonstrates his love for the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in his second installment of the violin concertos on Hänssler Classic. The Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211, the Turkish-flavored Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, and the Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K. 364 complete the series and make a satisfying program, while Zimmermann's polished and lively playing complements his fine work on the first volume.
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.
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 twenty years of recordings make very clear, he has talents and abilities far beyond those of most mortal pianists. But it is to say that, as those recordings make equally clear, Zacharias is far more interested in music-making than he is in virtuosity. As both pianist and conductor here, Zacharias leads performances which are all about sympathetic interplay, about musicians listening to each other, about the meaning behind the notes and the joy inside the notes. The Lausanne musicians respond joyfully to Zacharias' direction, playing with him and not for him and breathing life into every line and sonority. While listeners raised on virtuoso performances may find something lacking, those listeners who value playing together more than showing off will find much to enjoy.
World premiere recordings
The interpretations from László Paulik using a Jahann Hentschl violin (c.1750) are of an exceptional standard with assured and expressive playing of purity and precision of intonation that at times takes the breath away. In the Allegros he displays astonishing virtuosity of great elegance with clean textures and articulation. I especially loved the heavenly sounds he displays and the high degree of emotional intensity in the contemplative and affecting Adagios. The sensitive support is impeccable displaying a wide spectrum of orchestral colours. Michael Cookson
Six piano concertos in a mere twelve months: in no other year was Mozart as productive in this genre as he was in 1784. Christian Zacharias and his Lausanne Chamber Orchestra have taken considerably more time with their interpretations of Mozart’s piano concertos – and with sensational results. This complete recording even now promises to occupy one of the top ranks on international lists: Zacharias is able perfectly and seamlessly to transfer his inimitable touch and sound culture to the orchestra.
For her first collaboration with the period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, violinist Isabelle Faust performs the five Violin Concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with three shorter concertante works. This is an extraordinary set, for the historically informed performances, the polished sound of the group, the almost palpable presence of the players, which Harmonia Mundi has captured with superior engineering, and for the unrepressed joy in the music. Faust is the center of attention, naturally, and her refined and expressive playing immediately pulls the listener in. These are far from the most demanding concertos in the repertoire, so Faust is less concerned with technical execution than with conveying the pure feeling of the music, which is delightfully buoyant and uplifting. Under the direction of Giovanni Antonini, the group provides warm and sparkling accompaniment that gives Faust all the support she needs, but there's no doubt that she sets the emotional tone for these exquisite recordings. Highly recommended, especially for devotees of Classical style at its finest.