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Thread: Beethoven piano concertos

  1. #1
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    Default Beethoven piano concertos

    [Re-posted from orchestral forum]

    Hi folks,

    As I often do on weekends, I hit up some thrift stores today searching for bargains on CDs and records. Turns out one of the stores I visited was (quite inexplicably) bursting at the seams with CDs of Beethoven Piano concertos (and a few discs of Sonatas), as well as quite a few of Bach's Goldberg Variations. I picked up five separate three-disc sets of all five Beethoven concertos for just $2.42 apiece. The recordings are as follows:

    -Rudolf Serkin (cond. Ozawa)
    -Albred Brendl (cond. Levine)
    -Wilhelm Backhaus (cond. Isserstedt)
    -Maurizio Pollini (cond. Abbado)
    -Wilhelm Kempf (cond. Van Kempen)

    Does anyone have any thoughts on these? Are they considered strong performances, and is there anything in particular I should be listening for in each one?

    Thanks!

    Andres

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    I can't say I love any of them...but, now that you got em,...listen to them, a lot...over and over...get to know and love them...and then, buy yourself the complete Beethoven Piano concertos by Glenn Gould...and you'll see the clear and obvious difference. Sure, the ones you mentioned are okay at best..listen to them well...but then do yourself the ultimate favor and listen to them performed with true bravura and precision and in a way that only one man was ever able to recreate.

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    The pick is Wilhelm Kempf under Van Kempen. The playing is crisp on Deutche Grammophon. Beethoven concertos could be elaborated upon in the Instruments forum.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    kempf. i like the serkin too

    try to find arrau/davis, awesome or
    rubinstein/leinsdorf beautiful

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    Junior Member jfmurray's Avatar
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    The Serkin/Ozawa set is superb.
    It's one of the oldest, most listen to CD sets in my collection.

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    No-one mentions Kovacevich. His Beethoven concertos are excellent too.

    But yeah, Kempff is awesome.

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    My personal favourite will be Rubinstein/Boston Symphony/ Erich Leinsdorf followed by Vladimir Ashkenazy/London/ Bernard Haitink and then Wilhelm Kempff/Berliner/ Ferdinad Leitner.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Gulp! What a bargain and what great artists! I can't imagine any one of them turning in a 'bad' performance, even on a 'bad day' in these works which are central to each of their respective repertoires! Good on you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    [Re-posted from orchestral forum]

    Hi folks,

    As I often do on weekends, I hit up some thrift stores today searching for bargains on CDs and records. Turns out one of the stores I visited was (quite inexplicably) bursting at the seams with CDs of Beethoven Piano concertos (and a few discs of Sonatas), as well as quite a few of Bach's Goldberg Variations. I picked up five separate three-disc sets of all five Beethoven concertos for just $2.42 apiece. The recordings are as follows:

    -Rudolf Serkin (cond. Ozawa)
    -Albred Brendl (cond. Levine)
    -Wilhelm Backhaus (cond. Isserstedt)
    -Maurizio Pollini (cond. Abbado)
    -Wilhelm Kempf (cond. Van Kempen)

    Does anyone have any thoughts on these? Are they considered strong performances, and is there anything in particular I should be listening for in each one?

    Thanks!

    Andres

  13. #9
    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    I have seldom, if ever, read mention of Van Cliburn on TC, whose recordings of Tchaikovsky Bb minor and Rach 2nd and 3rd make my 'short list cut', anyway - but his performances of the 4th & 5th Beethoven Piano Concertos are also very fine. Especially the adagio un poco mosso of #5.
    Last edited by NightHawk; Dec-11-2011 at 21:21. Reason: ampersand

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    I think these two have passed the revered editions.


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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Vaneyes;244258]I think these two have passed the revered editions.

    Never heard Kissen do any Beethoven, but will check him out on Youtube.

    I almost bought Paul Lewis' cycle, but opted for the Claude Frank, and I 'm not sorry (that I went with Frank, it's a great set and cheap)...but I'm still interested in PL, he is very good - heard him via youtube do Concerto #1 brilliantly on The Proms (?) British music festival or something somebody help me out here.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=NightHawk;244524]
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    I think these two have passed the revered editions.

    Never heard Kissen do any Beethoven, but will check him out on Youtube.

    I almost bought Paul Lewis' cycle, but opted for the Claude Frank, and I 'm not sorry (that I went with Frank, it's a great set and cheap)...but I'm still interested in PL, he is very good - heard him via youtube do Concerto #1 brilliantly on The Proms (?) British music festival or something somebody help me out here.
    The British Broadcasting Corporation's Promenade Concerts. Runs for two months in the summer mostly in the Royal Albert Hall,London. Founded in 1895 it features artists and ensembles from all over the world. This year it featured all of the BBC orchestras plus the Bournemouth S.O.,Budapest Festival Orch.,Chamber Orch.of Europe.,Gustav Mahler Youth Orch.,Israel Phil.,LSO.,Netherlands Radio Phil.,Orch.of the Academy of St. Cecilia,Rome,.French Radio Phil.,the Philharmonia Orch.,Pittsburgh S.O,.RPO.,Royal Stockholm Phil.,Simon Bolivar S.O.,Zurich Tonhalle.,Philadelphia Orch.,plus many groups and soloists. Thi is the biggest music festival in the world.

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