The Beethoven Triple Concerto is a strange work, with the most important–-or at least prominent–-solos given to the cello; it is the instrument which introduces each movement. The remarkable Martha Argerich wisely allows Mischa Maisky to shine in his solos and leading position, but her contribution is anything but back seat. Her customary virtuosity is everywhere in evidence, and, in a way, she turns the piano into the spinal column of the work, with the violin and cello playing around her. Every time Maisky is about to lapse into a mannerism which might detract–-too much sliding, a dynamic slightly exaggerated–-Argerich brings him back, and both of them play with handsome tone. Capucon's violin is recorded a bit stridently (this was taped live in Lugano), but his playing is equally stunning. Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky leads the orchestra matter-of-factly until the final movement, when he catches the proper fire. In the Schumann A minor concerto Argerich is wonderful the solo passages and a fine partner in orchestrated ones and she really makes much of both the lyrical runs and the dance-like passages in the last movement. Recommended.
The Music & Arts label has released a historic recording of Beethoven's "Emperor Concerto" from 1945, with Artur Rother conducting, surprisingly in then experimental stereo sound. There is also the faint sound during the performance of distant Royal Airforce Lancaster and Halifax bombers dropping bombs and German anti-aircraft guns shooting. (The RAF attacked at night, during the concert, while the Americans bombed in the daytime.) This, plus the startling presence of stereo, in one of the first stereo recordings, and a performance that is considered magnificent, makes for an unsual combination of art and history. - Music & Arts
I’ve had this Robert Schumann compilation from Brazilian pianist Guiomar Novaes for a half year now and keep coming back to it, always with the pleasure. Novaes presents balanced interpretations of some famous Schuman compositions; there’s nothing adventurous or idiosyncratic about her approach but they are musical and very winning.
Probably my two favorites performances are of the Papillons waltzes, Schumann’s Op. 2, and the big and beautiful Symphonic Variations. Novaes’ Papillons are charming and light without being lightweight. A heavier composition, the Symphonic Variations elicit an emotional reading from Novaes.
Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, completed about the same time as the Eroica Symphony, has suddenly become popular. One reason for its previous lack of popularity was the fact that three soloists cost three times as much as one normally expensive pianist, violinist or cellist. Another reason is that the work seeks to be a popular success, hence the Rondo alla Polacca with which it concludes. The piano part was intended for Beethoven’s patron and pupil, the Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg, and hence is less technically demanding than the composer’s usual pianistic writing, destined for himself. The standard CD (previously LP) of the work was a spectacular performance and recording made by EMI many years ago with David Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Richter with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan. It was opulently played with the BPO’s luscious sound, but has little to do with what Beethoven would have heard in 1804. Another choice was the version of Stern, Rose and Serkin (Sony), less lush and not so high-powered as Karajan’s.
Deutsche Grammophon has another excellent Schumann Concerto in its catalog, the Pollini/Abbado, with the Berlin Philharmonic, coupled with a good but not great Schoenberg Piano Concerto. Not surprisingly, Pollini is more muscular and evenly balanced in the Schumann, even if he is, as usual, a bit straitlaced. Pires is always the sensitive and probing artist, or so it seems. Here, she is alert from the opening descending chords to the expressive potential in every bar. She puts much more thinking and feeling in her interpretation than Pollini and most others I've heard.
Born in Australia Bruce Hungerford (1922-1977) studied with the legendary Ignaz Friedman in Sydney. His move to the USA brought him in contact with Myra Hess, who gave him valuable coaching, and later with Carl Friedberg. His prodigious qualities caught the attention of the Solomon brothers of the American Vanguard Classics label who contracted him for a complete Beethoven cycle recording. Sadly Hungerford died in a car accident halfway the project. Piano Classics is happy to issue his Beethoven Legacy for the first time in one CD box set. Hungerford’s Beethoven is powerful, full of dramatic contrasts and effects, but also of great tenderness and wit, the full spectrum of Beethoven’s genius and humanity. Apart from his superb pianism and musicianship, Hungerford is also remembered as a professional palaeontologist and Egyptologist.
Volume 3 in the series with the complete orchestral works of Ludwig van Beethoven is ready from the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and its music director since 1997, Thomas Dausgaard. The piano concertos are true gems of the classical canon, as Beethoven was an expert both in the art of writing for the orchestra and himself a master pianist. Russian pianist Boris Beresovsky (b.1969) is such a wizard. At the age of 21 he won the Gold Medal at the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. It is a privilege to hear how the combination Berezovsky and Dausgaard/SwCO really hit it of in this music. They are enjoying themselves, surprising each other, challenging and courteous at the same time. The sounding result speaks for itself.
The Trio Zimmermann’s previous release of Beethoven’s Trios received excellent reviews and won them the BBC Music Magazine’s Chamber Award in 2013. This next instalment shows us the ‘lighter’ side of Beethoven’s chamber works. The Trio in E flat major and Serenade in D major consist of sequences of six and eight movements respectively, with minuets and marches reminding us of courtly music from an earlier period. However, they are far from ‘old-fashioned’. The adventurous spirit of the young Beethoven is plain to hear, in the exceptionally creative use of textures, thematic development and formal innovation. In this music Beethoven gives each instrument an equal importance and a highly individual treatment. A first-class chamber ensemble is required to meet these demands and this is exactly what the Trio Zimmermann offer, comprised of three exceptional soloists.
"Felix August Bernhard Draeseke was a composer of the "New German School" admiring Liszt and Richard Wagner. He wrote compositions in most forms including eight operas and stage works, four symphonies, and much vocal and chamber music.During his life, and the period shortly following his death, the music of Draeseke was held in high regard, even among his musical opponents. His compositions were performed frequently in Germany by the leading artists of the day, including Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch, Fritz Reiner, and Karl Böhm. However, as von Bülow once remarked to him, he was a "harte Nuß" ("a hard nut to crack") and despite the quality of his works, he would "never be popular among the ordinary"." ~Wikipedia