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CD Review

Nicarnor Zabaleta Plays

  • Wolfgang Mozart: Flute and Harp Concerto in C Major, K. 299 (1778)
  • Carl Reinecke: Harp Concerto in E Major, Op. 182 (1884)
  • Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto-Sérénata (1956)
Nicarnor Zabaleta, harp
Karlheinz Zöller, flute
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Ernst Marzendorfer
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ernst Marzendorfer
Deutsche Grammophon Originals 463648-2 DDD
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This has always been a favourite CD for the writer who was exposed to the wondrous beauty of the Mozart Concerto through this recording. Zöller and Zabaleta are well-nigh perfectionist exponents of the work with a purist approach and a miraculously inventive partnership that has never been bettered, at least in my opinion. Comparison with Beecham's similarly wondrous recording with Laskine and LeRoy (Dutton) are instructive yet I feel that this is the recording to own if you are after a legendary performance of this, the most mercurial of concertos.

This Originals release has also added the fantastic Reinecke Concerto, a rare excursion for Zabaleta but no less brilliant in his exposition and performance. Rodrigo was definitely another Zabaleta specialty and here he gives an authoritative yet remarkably sensitive performance of the Concierto-Sérénata.

Marzendorfer's accompaniments are second to none and the sweet DG recording is very pleasant although an amount of background hiss is always present. On the whole, this is a fine testament and memorial to the erstwhile talents of Nicanor Zabaleta.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech