Mozart: Violin Concertos – No 2 in D major, K211; No 5 in A major, K219; Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K364

Reviewed on Mon 18 Apr, 2016

I’ve always thought that as a Mozartean Frank Peter Zimmermann has travelled the Milstein-Oistrakh-Grumiaux route, with a sweet-centred tone similar to theirs, parallel levels of technical agility and a degree of elegance that is fully on a par with his feted forebears.

Very interesting, this. I’ve always thought that as a Mozartean Frank Peter Zimmermann has travelled the Milstein-Oistrakh-Grumiaux route, with a sweet-centred tone similar to theirs, parallel levels of technical agility and a degree of elegance that is fully on a par with his feted forebears. Here there are also some sportive cadenzas (try from 2'00” into the first movement of the Fifth Concerto), and Radoslaw Szulc’s shapely Munich accompaniment veers the near side of period performance, with a use of vibrato that is more sparing than Zimmermann’s. It’s almost as if they’ve emerged from different time zones, Szulc and his band playing from one planet while accompanying far away, Old-World Zimmermann on his. This ‘crisis’ falls into even clearer focus for the Sinfonia Concertante, where the superb violist Antoine Tamestit tends to side with Szulc and his band, frequently laying off the vibrato and inflecting his phrases much as they do, while Zimmermann remains true to his warm-hearted self. Szulc’s attentive accompaniments are especially appreciative of wind lines, but I feel that Tamestit would have sounded more wholly at home partnering someone like, say, Alina Ibragimova. Still, the two solo concertos are truly excellent.
–Rob Cowan