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
A remarkably intimate recording of Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, this performance by Anne Gastinel and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, directed by Louis Langrée, may be a little too forward for the average listener's comfort. Direct Stream Digital engineering places Gastinel front and center – almost in one's living room – and the orchestra is not far behind. Such "living presence" may be an audiophile's delight, but others may find the proximity disconcerting, especially because Gastinel's bowing seems overly resinous up close. However, this is the only complaint worth making about this disc, for Gastinel is wonderfully expressive and the orchestra is extraordinarily balanced and clear in its timbres, no mean achievement in Schumann's problematic, thick orchestration. The remaining performances are less forwardly recorded and sound pleasant and natural, with a fresh spontaneity that feels more like a recital than a studio session.
Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has specialized in Baroque and Classical music, and her Beethoven is about as delicate as some might expect. But there's a difference between applying delicacy to works that are not conventionally played that way, and applying it to already delicate works. There are two of each here. Hewitt runs counter to type in the early Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 2/2, and Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10/1. In the Op. 10 work, perhaps a preparatory essay for the tumultuous "Pathétique" sonata that followed in the same key, Hewitt will be underpowered for many. But all is redeemed in the gentler pair, the Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major, Op. 78, and Piano Sonata No. 31 in A major, Op. 110. Hewitt takes moderate tempi in these, infusing a sense of spontaneity into the brief, tightly constructed Op. 78 and opening up the fugal counterpoint in the Op. 110 finale. Hewitt's Bachian training really applies in this work, whose first movement is also particularly raptly, almost mystically done. It's hard to offer a general judgment on this set, but for those buying online, in pieces, know that the last two selections are must-haves.
Though close to each other in date, the two works on this disc, which are the last in which Beethoven wrote for piano and orchestra together, are in other respects quite dissimilar. The Emperor is a standard piano concerto or so it seems to us, because it was uniquely influential in defining the form for the next 100 years. To its first audiences it must have seemed highly individual, and even idiosyncratic. The Choral Fantasy, on the other hand, appears to us an unorthodox, even unique conception, much freer in form, as befits the title fantasy which Beethoven chose for it. Yet both are entirely characteristic of the composer in their deployment of a structure that served the purposes of the content of the work itself to its greatest advantage. Concluding the Complete Orchestral Works of Beethoven, this vol. 12 finds Thomas Dausgaard, Boris Berezovsky and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra on top form.
Starting the second half of our great Beethoven series, Boris Berezovsky returns with the Fourth Piano Concerto and Beethoven's own version of the Violin Concerto arranged with the piano as the solo instrument. Boris's earlier contributions to the series have been very well received indeed, and the Russian virtuoso has more up his sleeve. The works on this seventh volume in this series originates from a particularly fruitful time in Beethoven"s career as a composer, around the same time as his fourth and fifth symphony and the Razumovsky quartets. He continues to expand the formal boundaries for the concerto, and the result is of course some of the most fantastic music ever written.
The soloists step into the light again for this fifth release in the Simax-series with the complete orchestral music of Beethoven. After the wonderful reception of piano concertos 1 and 2 (PSC 1181) its now time for concerto no.3, with Berezovsky on exceptional form. Plus a stunning rendering of the Triple concerto. Dausgaard leads with a sensitive ear to the poetry and somewhat melancoly expression found in both these concertos, engaging the orchestra in "chamber musical" ensemble with the soloists. But there are massive outbursts as well, in sparkling performance!
The air on Mt. Olympus must have been something like that in Berlin’s Jesus-Christus-Kirche when, in September 1969, the threesome of Richter, Oistrakh and Rostropovich joined Herbert von Karajan for this majestic recording of Beethoven’s underrated Triple Concerto. That there could have been such a meeting of the minds in this gathering of greats is difficult to believe, until one remembers that the three soloists were frequent collaborators who all spoke the same musical language, and after years in the trenches knew each other and their conductor very well. As one would expect, the solo work of the three Russians is brilliant and deeply musical. But just as delightful is the way they adjust from solo to ensemble roles and play together, with perfect unanimity, in the duet and trio passages. Karajan and the Berliners provide a monumental accompaniment, weighty, powerful, and rich in tone. The recording, one of the best from EMI in this venue, has been remastered in exemplary fashion and is impressively detailed and vivid.