Dejan Lazic

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Sonatas No. 14 ('Moonlight") & No. 31 (Op. 110)

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For this super audio disc from Channel Classics, Dejan Lazic's live performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major is programmed with his solo recordings of the Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, "Moonlight," and the Sonata No. 31 in A flat major. Ostensibly, this is a sonic showcase for Lazic and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, under Richard Tognetti, and the state-of-the-art technology brings out the best in the musicians, giving the pianist an intimate presence without crowding him or artificially boosting his volume, while at the same time lending the orchestra a spaciousness that really opens it up. The brilliance of the woodwinds' tone colors and the vibrant string tones are especially enjoyable, particularly in contrast with Lazic's smooth and well-rounded piano playing. The recordings of the piano sonatas naturally offer less in the way of timbral variety, yet even on the keyboard there is considerable room for tonal exploration, and Lazic's touch is finely graded from the lightest and smoothest legato to the hardest metallic attack. Yet for all the wonderful sonorities that can be found on this SACD, the listener may well wonder if the interpretations are what Beethoven needs. To a certain extent, the playing almost sounds like Beethoven channeled through Chopin, with the rather close-to-the vest approach and private, poetic moods, especially in the "Moonlight" Sonata. If a tamed expression and polished execution are desired, Lazic certainly delivers the goods, but anyone looking for wilder or more heroic readings of these pieces will have to look elsewhere.

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