Frank Peter Zimmermann / Wolfgang Sawallisch

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3; Brahms: Violin Concerto

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Already an internationally acclaimed violinist at 26, Frank Peter Zimmermann landed his EMI contract in 1990. His first release was this 1991 disc, which opened with an emotionally stunning performance of Berg's Violin Concerto and closed with a virtuosically staggering performance of Ravel's Tzigane. Zimmermann followed this with equally successful recordings of concertos by Sibelius and Prokofiev, Beethoven's concerto and Romances, Mendelssohn's concerto, and sonatas by Debussy, Janácek, and Mozart. Zimmermann's 1995 release coupling Brahms' concerto with Mozart's Third Concerto is arguably the best of his EMI recordings. With the supremely musical accompaniment of Wolfgang Sawallisch leading the Berlin Philharmonic, Zimmermann's performances are as ineffably lyrical, as emotionally dedicated, and as virtuosically devastating as ever. His performance of Mozart's concerto glides luminously in the infinite empyrean, the coda of his central Adagio is proof of the blessedness of life. His performance of Brahms' concerto sings radiantly in the eternal paradise, the cadenza of his opening Allegro non troppo is evidence of the goodness of life. Re-released in 2005 with many of Zimmermann's other EMI recordings on its budget Encore series, this coupling of Brahms and Mozart is well worth hearing by anyone who missed it ten years earlier and by anyone who loves great violin playing. EMI's mid-'90s digital sound is rich, lush, and full.

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