Veteran Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has turned in mid-career to live recordings, believing that the live situation makes possible a greater degree of spontaneity. In solo repertoire this has sometimes led him to follow his impulses into bold, unexpected interpretations. Here, in Beethoven's five piano concertos, there's less of an opportunity to color outside of the lines, even though Buchbinder serves as his own conductor (a tall order in Beethoven in itself). Yet his approach still works very well. He may deserve credit right off the bat for getting the sometimes recalcitrant Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to go along with what he's doing; the performances have a satisfying unity between soloist and orchestra.
Known for his intense, insightful interpretations of the classical repertoire, Rudolf Serkin was one of the great American pianists of the mid-century, and seldom was he more in his element than when playing Mozart. This new six-CD release unites for the first time fourteen Mozart concerto recordings made at the height of his career, between 1951 and 1977. His is not a raised-little-finger type of Mozart; it is rugged, has contour, and is a welcome relief from the pretty-pretty conceptions heard only too often , wrote Gramophone of a 1955 recording with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Schneider. With the same orchestra, Serkin is ideally matched (AllMusic Guide) with conductor George Szell; elsewhere he partners Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as Pablo Casals at the cellist-conductor s festival in Perpignan for No. 22 ( exultant and miraculous BBC Music Magazine). Recordings from the Marlboro Festival include the Concerto No. 10 for two pianos with his then-teenage son Peter Serkin.
The viola was Hindemith's instrument (though he could play almost any), and he wrote some of his most expressive chamber music for it. This two-disc set includes all four of Hindemith's sonatas for solo violin and the three for viola and piano. I prefer the wildness of Hindemith's earlier music to the sometimes arid calm of his later music, so listeners like myself who like Hindemith can have a feast here as most of these are early works. They are played with energy and passion by an outstanding violist and a fine pianist.
Fans of either cellist Mstislav Rostropovich or pianist Sviatoslav Richter will have to hear the performances on this two-disc Doremi set. It contains the four pieces they performed in Moscow on March 1, 1950 Brahms' Sonata No. 1 and Beethoven's sonatas No. 3 and No. 4, plus the world premiere of Prokofiev's sonata and two of the pieces they played at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 20, 1964 Grieg's sonata as well as another Brahms' Sonata No. 1.