Mozart: Piano Sonatas 9, 11,12;
Rondo, K 511
Juana Zayas—ZMI 103—72 minutes
Zayas has been much praised in these pages for her fine technique and interpretive abilities. Turning her attention to Mozart, she proves to be an interesting player but not always in sympathy with the Mozart style.
Sonata 11 is a fairly straightforward presentation and avoids all the pitfalls besetting pianists who subscribe to the dainty as you go approach. There is much expressivity and textured subtlety, along with several little rubatos that break up any hint of the metronomic. The ‘Alla Turca’ finale avoids the whiff of preciosity that taints most amateur performances, but Zayas is clearly no amateur, and her studied, yet free-sounding playing can be enjoyed fully in the context of her direct style.
In Sonata 12 Zayas has several little speedy interjections in the opening movement that some may perceive to be strikes of genius where others may find rhythmic inconsistencies. All goes well in the final Allegro assai, and her evenness of execution is very impressive.
Sonata 9 is nicely nuanced in the first movement but still has its share of flexible tempos. The Andante is most beautifully sustained and has great refinement. With the final Presto the spirit of Mozart takes full wing and the listener’s attention is held.
The well-known Rondo is all one could ask for. The artist wins by her gentle grace and delicate shading. It is certainly one of the high points of a release that must face huge competition for any collector’s attention.
American Record Guide, J/F 2008