Notes and Editorial Reviews
The tonal refinement and elegant articulation characterizing Zhu Xiao-Mei's best Bach recordings gorgeously permeate her interpretations throughout this well-chosen Mozart recital. The opening variation set, based on the tune better known as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", abounds in supple wit and well-judged relationships between tempos from variation to variation. Subtle accents help to bring out the wonderful C major K.330's harmonic twists, although Zhu's bouncy basic tempo for the Finale veers toward the breakneck side.
In an era when ponderous, drawn-out performances of the B minor Adagio with all repeats are the norm, Zhu happily eschews the repeats and plays with nuanced fluidity. She also lets go in the D
minor Fantasia's cadenza-like passages and gives animated shape to the Duport Variations (I especially love her delicate, shimmering touch in the opening theme).
The D major K. 576 Sonata's outer movements boast beautifully controlled dynamic contrasts and varied articulations, while the F major Andante stands out for the high-register chords' clarity and winged lightness, as well as for Zhu's expressive, impeccably-calibrated trills. A lovely disc to which listeners surely will return many times.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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