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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

My Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycles

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*** According to my count, this is my 50th Tuesday Blog (excluding la Chronique du Disque and including my 12 days of Blogging over Christmas ***

Which Beethoven Cycle(s) Do You Own?
Beethoven piano concertos

To launch my Beethoven Project last August, I posted a PTB discussing the four Beethoven symphony cycles I own in my personal music collection, In today’s PTB, I wanted to discuss the Beethoven piano concertos and what I own in my private collection.

Two Piano Concerto cycles

I own two “complete” piano concerto cycles. The first is an early digital set issued by LONDON/DECCA featuring Decca regular Radu Lupu with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta.

This is an excellent set, that has flown under the radar over the years. I suspect the reason for that is the soloist: Lupu is arguably one of the best all-around pianists of the second half of the 20th century, but he hasn’t done many notable concerto recordings – his Grieg/Schumann recording I featured in my Gumdrops is one of the few that has garnered near-unanimous acclaim). His Beethoven is strong, not too flashy, and the IPO does a fine job as a back-up crew. Here is the First concxerto from that set:

I featured Lupu in the fourth concerto in my recent Serene Beethoven montage.

My second complete set is a later digital compilation featuring Murray Perahia, with the Comncertgebouw orchestra under its long-time artistic director, Bernard Haitink.

I loved Perahia in his Mozart compilation with the ECO as a soloist and conductor - in passing, one of the later contributions to that set featured Lupu as “second keyboard” on the double and triple concertos (the latter reduced to two pianos). Perahia is a strong technician, and his fourth concerto is the strongest of the lot IMO. I featured the Perahia version of the first concerto in my Number One obsession montage on Beethoven last year. I uploaded the second concerto on YouTube, but its transmission is blocked "in some countries" due to copyright protection. I provide the link here, in case you can view it...

One sour point for me, if there is one, is that neither of these sets include the “Choral Fantasy”. Sets released at the same time as the above by Alicia Delarrocha (Chailly/RSO Berlin/LONDON) and Anton Kuerti (Davis/Toronto SO/CBC) include the fantasy with their concertos as filler. Kuerti’s version is quite good, and he has performed the work internationally. Here it is:

Other Piano Concertos in my collection

For the longest time, my “go-to” version of the Emperor concerto was the oft-reissued version by Rudolf Serkin and the New-York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. Though it sounds “very early stereo”, it still remains one of my favourites. I also own the first three concertos by Glenn Gould with the Toronto and CBC Symhonies from 1950’s CBC broiadcasts, along with the WoO 6 “discarded” finale of the second concerto. If you read my musings in January’s Pianothon, you know how I simply love these early Gould recordings, as they are much more spontaneous than the later Columbia recordings. Here is the Second concerto:

I own a few more versions of the Third concerto: Sviatoslav Richter (Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti) and a bootlegged radio broadcast with Daniel Barenboim (Montreal SO, Charles Dutoit). I also featured another broiadcast performance last year in my oft-mentioned posts on the December 1808 academy: Clifford Curzon, London Philharmonc, Bernard Haitink in the Choral Fantasy.

I discussed last year in the Chronique du disque that I own a pair of the BIS recordings by pianist Ronald Brautigam (on fortepiano, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Parrott), one features the second and WoO 4 concerto reconstructed by Brautigam, the other the piano version of the violin concerto (op. 61a).

Lots for you to sample!

April 20, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage "Brahms and the violin" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read our English and French commentary April 20 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.
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Updated Apr-17-2012 at 11:38 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Musicians , Recorded Music