Classical review: Frank Peter Zimmerman/Christian Zacharias

The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. Picture: Callum Bennetts
The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. Picture: Callum Bennetts
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TWO of the world’s finest musicians, violinist Frank Peter Zimmerman and pianist Christian Zacharias unsurprisingly attracted a packed house at the Queen’s Hall yesterday morning.

Frank Peter Zimmerman/Christian Zacharias

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * * * *

In a class of their own as performers, their focus was on a composer who is similarly unparalleled in terms of musical stature.

Giving exceptional insight to the not often heard three Op 12 violin sonatas by Beethoven, the duo’s performance demonstrated time after time why they are so greatly admired. Performing on a Stradivarius dating from 1711 that had once belonged to Fritz Kreisler, Zimmerman’s tone was true and unadulterated, singing out Beethoven’s beautifully spun lines with a clarity seamlessly matched by the extraordinary playing of Christian Zacharias at the piano.

Together, they were resolute about the direction in which they took the first of the set, moving towards the delicate lyricism of its middle theme and variations with the ebbing and flowing typical of Beethoven’s richness of invention.

That both musicians are technically outstanding goes without saying, but the warmth and spirit of humanity that they brought to the A major Sonata in particular, plus a personal affinity with the joy of Beethoven’s scoring, are the sorts of characteristics that really set them apart. As their respective instruments converse with each other, wit is never far from Zimmerman and Zacharias’s reach either, the off-beat rhythms of the Scherzo from the more familiar Spring sonata being a perfect example.

Seen on 29.05.14