most recently came my way as part of
a Mozart Concerto DVD he played No.
. There, as here, his was a remarkably
musically rendered Mozart. There, the
Mozart was sprinkled with magic, a magic
largely missing here, especially in
the 'Jeunehomme'. Zacharias over-pedals
the piano 'answer' in the opening bars
and, after a very stylish orchestral
tutti, almost lazily begins the trill
that announces the piano's return. From
then on, everything is very accurate,
but perhaps a bit too comfortable, while
phrasing verges on the merely 'pretty'.
The deep emotions of
the slow movement belie the work's date.
A pity Zacharias rather sits on the
surface of these emotions, missing the
magic. Similarly the sense of fun that
characterises the finale is almost but
not quite there; perhaps the studio
conditions inhibiting this?. The Menuet
section is nicely suave, though.
Much better is the
account of the Eleventh Concerto. The
orchestra is magnificently gallant for
the orchestral exposition, and it is
clear from this and Zacharias's own
playing that he takes the work very
seriously as a masterpiece; and rightly
so. The cadenza is excellent, and the
slow movement is much better than its
cousin was in No. 9. Zacharias's belief
is clear as he invites us to enter a
comfortably twilit world. The finale
is a 'Tempo di Menuetto', calm and restrained.
Zacharias and his Lausanne players respond
with the utmost sensitivity.
A mixed reception,
then. If you want a No. 11 - and there
is no reason why you shouldn't – as
a piece it is pure gold - Zacharias
supplies plenty of delights.