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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Great Piano Concertos, Vol III: No. 6 in B flat, K238a (1776) [22'25]; No. 19 in F, K459b (1784) [27'43]; No. 20 in D minor, K466c (1785) [31'52].
aChristian Zacharias, bRadu Lupu, cIvan Klánský (piano)
aStuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gianluigi Gelmetti;
bDeutsche Kammerphilharmonie/David Zinman;
cVirtuosi di Praga/Jirí Belohlávek.
Rec. aSchwetzingen Palace on May 29th, 1989, bSophiensaal, Munich on July 12th, 1990, cRittersaal of Palais Waldstein on November 19th-20th, 1990.
Directed by János Darvas.
NTSC 4:3 full screen.
EUROARTS 2010238 [80'00]

A warm welcome to this volume of Mozart concertos. The previous volume I reviewed seemed rather mixed. Here, despite differing venues, soloists and conductors for each concerto, the standard is more uniformly high.

Christian Zacharias has always struck me as a very musical player, and his previous recordings of Mozart have confirmed this. His choice is the early No. 6; all three movements end quietly, by the way! The performance takes place in the nicely ornate Schwetzingen Palace, obviously a conducive space for all concerned. Zacharias's way with ornaments is particularly delightful, and his tone is nicely rounded. The Andante un poco adagio finds an expressive level of intimacy, although Gelmetti is rather off-putting to watch. Much better to revel in Zacharias's hypnotic delicacy. The gentle Rondeau finale includes earthy excursions from the horns. Lovely.

Radu Lupu has always been one of the most musical of pianists. Here he is with his characteristic high-backed chair and that far-away look in his eyes. Lupu's cleanliness of articulation is wonderful. In fact everything is so considered it brings to mind Michelangeli and, indeed, the slight detachment is reminiscent of that pianist also. An element of literalism means my affections remain with Pollini/VPO/Böhm, yet it would be difficult to be without Lupu's supreme intimacy in the slow movement, or his stunning staccato touch in the finale.

Finally, Ivan Klánský giving a delicate K466. Belohlávek's accompaniment mirrors this; the opening's shifting syncopations are marvellously realised. Interesting to see the Belohlávek of fifteen years ago, now he is so much a part of the London scene - he does indeed look so young!

This is life-affirming stuff. Klánský's voice-leading is keenly considered, yet it is Belohlávek's conducting that consistently impresses. Until it comes to the cadenza, that is (Klánský's own), magnificently inventive, long but fascinating throughout.

If the slow movement moves in more interior spaces, there is much to enjoy in the finale where alas visuals/sound synchronisation is not always what it should be. The cadenza here impresses it is left-hand only!

This particular installment of the concertos is well worth the cost. Each interpreter leaves some positive impressions, but it is to the Klánský/Belohlávek partnership that I shall return.

Colin Clarke



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