MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 13 in C, K415; 6 in B-flat, K238; 16 in D, K451; Christian Zacharias, piano/ Lausanne Chamber Orch. – MDG multichannel SACD (2+2+2) 940 1667-6, 67:07 [Distr. by E1] *****:
This is volume 7 of the ongoing SACD series of Mozart’s piano concertos on MD&G. The issues we have covered so far have been very well received, the sparkling playing of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra a perfect foil to Zacharias’s well-groomed and totally satisfying piano renditions. Not every artist has what it takes to make Mozart shine the way he is supposed to—muscular, effervescent, and forcefully dramatic, no china-doll stuff—while at the same time displaying the most delicate and cultivated sense of poetry and line.
These three concertos, one (No. 6) written in Salzburg, of which the autograph still exists, and two others written for the every-demanding audience of Vienna, make a nice contrast from what Mozart initially envisioned and what he ultimately ended up with. The 20-year-old always had a leg up in the concerto realm; he realized from very early on that a new conception of the concerto idiom was evolving naturally from his own desires to energize the genre by making the supporting roles much more than just supporting. Even in the B-flat Concerto we see that the piano, though still the primary focus, is sharing material with its confreres. By the time we get to the other two concertos a much larger sense of the virtuosic has taken hold—something the Viennese thrived on—and the full onslaught of mature Mozartian genius is manifest. These pieces, the lyrical K415 and robust and heroically tempestuous K451, stand eye-to-eye in demonstrating the multifaceted and complex new concerto idiom that Mozart arrived at, truly a sharing of all material equally among all forces.
Christian Zacharias is one of those performers who are poets are heart, and he continues to manage these pieces as well as any I have heard on disc. The advantage of surround sound, perfectly balanced and quite visceral, should be self-evident. Bravo!
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