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.
As long as there are violinists around like Giuliano Carmignola, classical music will never be a museum for the dead because in his hands, Mozart's Concertos are brilliantly, vibrantly, irresistibly alive. Carmignola, who later signed with Sony and then Deutsche Gramophone after these recordings were made in 1997, is a violinist with a light bow, a warm tone, an impeccable intonation and a superlative technique, all of which are needed for Mozart's effervescent Concertos. But, best of all, Carmignola has an elegant way of turning a phrase and a graceful manner of expressing the inner life of the music. With the skilled if not especially characterful il Quartettone led by Carlo de Martini, Carmignola turns in performances of Mozart Concertos which while they might not challenge the greatest recordings ever made, certainly do reconfirm the life enhancing – life affirming – qualities of the music.(James Leonard)