When it comes to piano concertos, no two composers wrote more compatible concertos than Grieg and Schumann. Both are in A minor, both are in three movements, and both are ecstatically lyric, tenderly romantic, and amazingly virtuosic. And both fit very comfortably together as a recorded double bill, a coupling that has attracted some of the greatest pianists of the postwar years: Claudio Arrau with Colin Davis and the Boston Symphony, Leon Fleisher with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, Walter Gieseking with Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic, Sviatoslav Richter with Lovro von Matacic and the Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra, and this recording by Stephen Kovacevich with Colin Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
This particular recording has been a favourite of mine since its initial release nearly 30 years ago. Stephen Kovacevich (or Bishop-Kovacevich. if you prefer) appeals as 1 of those pianists whose playing is rather forthright & precise, giving us here a rather lyrical presentation of the concerti full of grace & good demeanor. A little on the light side compared to those who pound out their Beethovens some would think.
This recording of one of Haydn’s greatest masterpieces is not to be missed. Those who are familiar with Colin Davis’s recordings of the Haydn London Symphonies, made over 30 years ago with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, will know that he has a special affection for this composer’s music and unfailingly communicates his love of it to both performers and listeners alike. Surprisingly this would appear to be the first time that he has recorded Haydn’s Creation, but it has been worth the wait.
Best of 2007 Classical CDs ‘This thrilling performance was given in the Barbican last May when Sir Colin excelled himself in the power & nobility of his interpretation, with the LSO in terrific form, & the American soprano Christine Brewer sang with gleaming white-hot tone as Leonore. The final paean of joy at liberation is overwhelming. 1st-class recording quality.
With an outstanding solo quartet and a great chorus and orchestra, Davis leads a sterling performance that challenges the supremacy of his 1966 Philips recording of Messiah. Davis leads a dramatic performance; the famous "Hallelujah" chorus appropriately grand, the final "Amen" bristling with brazen energy, both sung with extraordinary tonal coloring and precise articulation by the chorus, which also shines in a lithe "He shall purify" and a vividly virtuoso "For unto us a child is born." Soprano Susan Gritton's solos are a delight, whether in the measured "Behold, a virgin shall conceive" or her exuberant "Rejoice greatly." The vocal purity of her "I know my redeemer liveth" makes this track a highlight. Alto Sara Mingardo's darker tones are especially moving in her arias and dramatic in "He was despised."