Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov - Caucasian Sketches Suite No. 2; Turkish Fragments (Loris Tjeknavorian)


Information

Composer: Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov
  1. Jubilee March, Op. 67
  2. Caucasian Sketches, suite No. 2, Op. 42 "Iveriya": 1. Introduction. Lamentation of Princess Ketevana
  3. Caucasian Sketches, suite No. 2, Op. 42 "Iveriya": 2. Berceuse
  4. Caucasian Sketches, suite No. 2, Op. 42 "Iveriya": 3. Lesghinka
  5. Caucasian Sketches, suite No. 2, Op. 42 "Iveriya": 4. Georgian March
  6. Mtsïri, Op. 54
  7. Armenian Rhapsody on National Themes, Op. 48
  8. I Wonder If It is Misfortune (from opera "Assya")
  9. Turkish March, Op. 55
  10. Turkish Fragments, Op. 62: 1. Caravan
  11. Turkish Fragments, Op. 62: 2. At Rest
  12. Turkish Fragments, Op. 62: 3. Night
  13. Turkish Fragments, Op. 62: 4. Festival

Hasmik Hatsagortsyan, soprano (6)
Varduhi Khachatryan, mezzo-soprano (8)
Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Loris Tjeknavorian, conductor
Date: 2001
Label: ASV

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Review

Collections of Ippolitov Ivanov's music have appeared before on Marco Polo and Naxos but this new AS&V issue has a good variety of the unknown alongside the rare. We begin with a spirited performance of the "Jubilee March', a characterful account by Tjeknavorian and his Armenian players followed by a energetic presentation of the second Caucasian Sketches Suite. The Introduction is given weighty resonance by the Armenian strings and Tjeknavorian finds just the right amount of panache and bombast not to make the Georgian March sound too plainly rhetorical. By far the most interesting item on disc is the unknown, "Mtsiri', a sort of rhapsodic ballade with a solo soprano part. Hasmik Hatsagortsian is a persuasive advocate of the piece and the mystical colours of the music are well portrayed by orchestra and conductor. Another short vocal item, "I Wonder if it is Misfortune' has Vardouhi Khachatrian in the solo mezzo part and she is also well attuned to the native music. Tjeknavorian rounds off with brisk and authoritative accounts of the now famous Turkish March and Turkish Fragments, the latter's "During the Rest' is quite magical here. At almost 78 minutes, no one can complain of being short changed and the music, if not of top-drawer quality, is enjoyable and melodious. All Russophiles should snap this up without delay.

-- Gerald Fenech © 2001, Classical Net

Another one on Classical Net:
and an unfavorable (and, imo, unjustified) review from ClassicsToday

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Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (19 November [O.S. 7 November] 1859 – 28 January 1935) was a Russian composer, conductor and teacher. He studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875-1882. Ippolitov-Ivanov's works include operas, orchestral music, chamber music and a large number of songs and his style is similar to that of his teacher.

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Loris Tjeknavorian (born 13 October 1937) is an Iranian Armenian composer and conductor. He is one of the most celebrated cultural figures in Armenia and Iran. As one of the leading conductors of his generation, he has led international orchestras throughout the world and made some 100 recordings with RCA, Philips, EMI, ASV, and others.

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Mikhail Glinka - Orchestral Music from Operas (Evgeny Svetlanov)


Composer: Mikhail Glinka
  1. A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin), opera: Overture
  2. A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin), opera: Act 2. Dances. Cracovienne
  3. A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin), opera: Act 2. Dances. Mazurka
  4. A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin), opera: Act 2. Dances. Waltz
  5. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Overture
  6. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Act 3. Dance. In Naina's Castle
  7. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Act 4. Oriental Dances in Chernomor's Castle. Turkish
  8. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Act 4. Oriental Dances in Chernomor's Castle. Arab
  9. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Act 4. Oriental Dances in Chernomor's Castle. Lezghinka
  10. Ruslan and Lyudmila, opera: Act 4. Chernomor's March
  11. Andante cantabile & Rondo for orchestra in D minor

USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra (5)
Evgeny Svetlanov, conductor
Date: 1963-1990
Label: Melodiya

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Mikhail Glinka (1 June [O.S. 20 May] 1804 – 15 February  [O.S. 3 February] 1857) was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the fountainhead of Russian classical music. Glinka's compositions were an important influence on future Russian composers, notably the members of The Five, who took Glinka's lead and produced a distinctive Russian style of music.

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Evgeny Svetlanov (6 September 1928—3 May 2002) was a Russian conductor, composer and though less well-known, a pianist. Svetlanov was particularly noted for his interpretations of Russian works – he covered the whole range of Russian music. He was principal conductor of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra (now the Russian State Symphony Orchestra) from 1965 tp 2000.

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Max Reger - Orchestral Works (Leif Segerstam)


Information

Composer: Max Reger

CD1:
  • (01-10) Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart, Op. 132
  • (11) Symphonischer Prolog zu einer Tragödie, Op. 108
CD2:
  • (01-03) Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 114
  • (04-06) Suite im alten Stil, Op. 93
CD3:
  • (01-10) Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven, Op. 86
  • (11-16) Eine Ballettsuite, Op. 130
  • (17-20) Vier Tondichtungen nach Arnold Böcklin, Op. 128

Love Derwinger, piano (Op. 114)
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Leif Segerstam, conductor
Date: 1993-1996
Label: BIS

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Review

It often seems as if it is only organists who prevent Max Reger's name from slipping off the map of turn-of-the-20th-century music altogether. The rest of his output, enormous when you remember that Reger died in 1916 at the age of 43, is too rarely heard; though some of the chamber music (including five quartets and nine violin sonatas) turns up from time to time, the orchestral works seem particularly ignored. This set, originally released on separate discs in the 1990s, includes most of them, under the indefatigable composer/conductor Leif Segerstam; the Violin Concerto, the Sinfonietta and the Hiller Variations seem the most significant omissions. Everything that is included is substantial; the 1910 Piano Concerto (in which Love Derwinger is the unflinching soloist) is a 45-minute, immensely challenging post-Brahmsian work; the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart builds a huge arching structure from the most innocent of material, and the hugely impressive Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy is dark, brooding and intricately wrought. It's invaluable to have these works available in such lucid, well-played and committed performances.

-- Andrew Clements, The Guardian

More reviews:
Individual reviews:

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Max Reger (19 March 1873 – 11 May 1916) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and academic teacher. Reger produced an enormous output over little more than 25 years but only a few of his compositions are well known in the 21st century. Some of the works for solo string instruments turn up often on recordings.

***

Leif Segerstam (born 2 March 1944 in Vaasa, Ostrobothnia, Finland) is a Finnish conductor, composer, violinist, violist and pianist, especially known for his 285 symphonies, along with his other works in his extensive œuvre. Segerstam has conducted in a variety of orchestras since 1963, and widely known through his recorded discography.

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Maurice Ravel; Sergei Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos (Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli)


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Composer: Maurice Ravel; Sergei Rachmaninov
  1. Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major: I. Allegramente
  2. Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major: II. Adagio assai
  3. Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major: III. Presto
  4. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: I. Allegro vivace
  5. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: II. Largo
  6. Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40: III. Allegro vivace

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano
Philharmonia Orchestra
Ettore Gracis, conductor
Date: 1957
Label: EMI

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Review

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s classic recordings of the Ravel G major and Rachmaninov G minor concertos have never been out of the catalog since they first appeared more than 40 years ago. Surface and style are one in this music, and the Italian pianist remains unsurpassed for his icy precision and micro-detailing. He brings pinpointed élan to Rachmaninov’s sizzling cross-rhythms in the Fourth Concerto’s Allegro Vivace movement, as well as laser-like concentration to the tartly lush Largo. Few have matched Michelangeli’s nuance and color in the Ravel concerto, and his seamless dispatch of Ravel’s “singing sword” effect in the opening movement belies the notion that you can’t bend notes on a piano. One could be nitpicky in regard to Michelangeli’s “old-fashioned” breaking of hands in the slow movement, but the music’s rippling aura can easily absorb such quirks. Ettore Gracis puts the Philharmonia Orchestra through its paces, and the players respond with scintillating brilliance. EMI’s new transfer reveals less tape hiss than heard in both the 1988 CD release and Philips’ “Great Pianists” edition of the Ravel, yet boasts more body, definition, and presence. If you missed these performances in EMI’s aforementioned full-price incarnation, don’t delay acquiring these better transfers at midprice. No classical collection should be without them.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday

More reviews:

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Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with Claude Debussy. Ravel was an exceptionally skilled orchestrator, as in his well known 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. His best known works include Boléro (1928), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), Daphnis et Chloé (1912).

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Sergei Rachmaninov (1 April [O.S. 20 March] 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered as one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music.

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Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (5 January 1920 – 12 June 1995) was an Italian virtuoso pianist, widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. He was famous for his flawless technique and obsession about perfectionism. His student included Martha Argerich and Ivan Moravec.

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concertos (Leon Fleisher)


Information

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

CD1:
  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: I. Allegro con brio
  2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: II. Largo
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: III. Rondo. Allegro scherzando
  4. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: I. Allegro con brio
  5. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: II. Largo
  6. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: III. Rondo. Allegro
CD2:
  1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 19: I. Allegro con brio
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 19: II. Adagio
  3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major, Op. 19: III. Rondo: Molto allegro
  4. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: I. Allegro moderato
  5. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: II. Andante con moto
  6. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: III. Rondo: Vivace
CD3:
  1. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major "Emperor", Op. 73: I. Allegro
  2. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major "Emperor", Op. 73: II. Adagio un poco mosso
  3. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major "Emperor", Op. 73: III. Rondo: Allegro
  4. Concerto for piano, violin & cello in C major, Op. 56: I. Allegro
  5. Concerto for piano, violin & cello in C major, Op. 56: II. Largo
  6. Concerto for piano, violin & cello in C major, Op. 56: III. Rondo alla Polacca

Leon Fleisher, piano
Cleveland Orchestra, cond. George Szell
Eugene Istomin, piano; Isaac Stern, violin; Leonard Rose, cello (Op. 56)
Philadelphia Orchestra, cond. Eugene Ormandy (Op. 56)
Date: 1959, 1961, 1964
Label: Sony Classical

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Review

Leon Fleisher’s fiery, brilliant accounts of these concertos are justly celebrated. The young pianist was at his peak when he made the recordings, and while his part in them has been compared with the action of a Swiss watch – brilliant, but a little too tightly wound and mechanical – there was and still is something electrifying about the playing. More than that, the chemistry between Fleisher and the leonine George Szell, in sovereign command of his Cleveland Orchestra, is something to marvel at.

There is a rare feeling of inevitability to these readings. Fleisher plays with extraordinary brilliance, but never with hardness; rather, he exhibits remarkable rhythmic flexibility and lyrical warmth, qualities that are utterly winning in this music. He is especially expressive in the hymnlike slow movements of Nos. 3 and 5, where he conveys a sense of the gentleness and depth of feeling in the music. With Szell and the Clevelanders standing securely on Olympus, the results are sublime. These then are accounts for lovers of the piano and lovers of the orchestra, as well as for lovers of this music. The recordings give a very bold, close-up view of the proceedings, and the sound is at times a bit grainy, though fairly appealing considering the vintage. These are enduring performances – Fleisher’s crowning achievement on disc, and one of Szell’s greatest moments as well.

-- Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection

More reviews:
Different issue, couple with Fleisher's Brahms cycle
Another reissue, only the 3rd and 4th:

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Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is one of the most famous and influential of all composers, and a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 7 concertos and 32 piano sonatas.

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Leon Fleisher (born July 23, 1928) is an American pianist and conductor. He is particularly well known for his interpretations of the piano concerti of Brahms and Beethoven, which he recorded with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1964, Fleisher lost the use of his right hand, due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mieczysław Karłowicz; Moritz Moszkowski - Violin Concertos (Tasmin Little)


Information

Composer: Mieczysław Karłowicz; Moritz Moszkowski
  1. Karłowicz - Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8: I. Allegro moderato
  2. Karłowicz - Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8: II. Romanza. Andante
  3. Karłowicz - Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8: III. Vivace assai
  4. Moszkowski - Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 16
  5. Moszkowski - Violin Concerto in C major, Op. 30: I. Allegro comodo
  6. Moszkowski - Violin Concerto in C major, Op. 30: II. Andante
  7. Moszkowski - Violin Concerto in C major, Op. 30: III. Vivace

Tasmin Little, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor
Date: 2003
Label: Hyperion
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67389

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Review

ARTISTIC QUALITY: 9 / SOUND QUALITY: 9

Anyone familiar with Moszkowski’s marginally familiar piano concerto knows to expect finely crafted, tuneful, and really attractive music, and that’s just what we get here. His command of form also is unusually supple, never sounding stiff or contrived, while the writing for the soloist has just as much virtuoso dash as does his writing for piano. Tasmin Little deserves credit for delivering such a classy account of this neglected gem. Her performance is particularly noteworthy for its full-throated lyricism in the lovely central slow movement, and she carries off the less-interesting Ballade in G minor with equal aplomb.

Tchaikovsky is the clear model for Karlowicz’s sunny concerto (the excellent notes point out that the work begins just like the First Piano Concerto played upside down), also expertly written and very skillfully scored. Once again Little offers playing of real enthusiasm in the outer movements, full of passion at the beginning of the first-movement development and exhibiting a sweet timbre that never turns shrill in the instrument’s upper registers. Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony deliver their usual thoroughly professional, musicianly accompaniments and more–they sound both involved and enthusiastic about this project, as well they should. Hyperion’s sonics, excellently balanced, uphold the high standards of the house. Very warmly recommended, as are all of the releases so far in the label’s fine Romantic Violin Concerto series (of which this is Volume 4).

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Apr04/KarlowiczVC.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/May04/Karlowicz_Violinconc.htm
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/h/hyp67389a.php
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2004/apr/09/classicalmusicandopera.shopping
http://www.allmusic.com/album/moszkowski-violin-concerto-in-c-op-30-ballade-in-g-minor-op-16-no-1-karlowicz-violin-concerto-in-a-op-8-mw0001386729
http://www.amazon.com/The-Romantic-Violin-Concerto-Vol/dp/B0000ARNEY

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Mieczysław Karłowicz (11 December 1876 – 8 February 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. Karłowicz's music is of a late Romantic character with influences of Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner. Among his works are a Symphony in E minor (Rebirth, Op. 7), a Violin Concerto in A major (Op. 8), and several tone poems. Karłowicz died at the age of 32 in an avalanche while skiing.

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Moritz Moszkowski (23 August 1854 – 4 March 1925) was a German-Jewish composer, pianist, and teacher of Polish descent on his paternal side. Moszkowski was quite prolific, composing over two hundred small-scale piano pieces, which brought him much popularity. Although less known today, Moszkowski was well respected and popular during the late nineteenth century.

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Tasmin Little (born 13 May 1965 in London) is an English classical violinist. Her first professional performance as a soloist was in 1988 with The Hallé. She made her first appearance at the BBC Proms in 1990, and has appeared regularly since. Little has been an exponent of the works of composer Frederick Delius throughout her career.

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Max Reger - Clarinet Sonatas; Clarinet Quintet (Karl Leister)


Composer: Max Reger

CD1:
  1. Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 49 No. 1: I. Allegro affanato
  2. Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 49 No. 1: II. Vivace
  3. Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 49 No. 1: III. Larghetto (ma non troppo, un poco con moto)
  4. Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 49 No. 1: IV. Prestissimo assai
  5. Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 49 No. 2: I. Allegro dolente
  6. Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 49 No. 2: II. Vivacissimo
  7. Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 49 No. 2: III. Larghetto (un poco con moto)
  8. Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 49 No. 2: IV. Allegro affabile (con moto)
CD2:
  1. Clarinet Sonata No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 107: I. Moderato
  2. Clarinet Sonata No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 107:  Vivace - Adagio - Vivace
  3. Clarinet Sonata No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 107: III. Adagio
  4. Clarinet Sonata No. 3 in B flat major, Op. 107: IV. Allegretto con Grazia
  5. Albumblatt for clarinet & piano
  6. Tarantella for clarinet & piano
CD3:
  1. Clarinet Quintet in A major, Op. 146: I. Moderato ed amabile
  2. Clarinet Quintet in A major, Op. 146: II. Vivace
  3. Clarinet Quintet in A major, Op. 146: III. Largo
  4. Clarinet Quintet in A major, Op. 146: IV. Poco allegretto

Karl Leister, clarinet
Anthony Spiri, piano (CD1, CD2)
Berlin Philharmonia Quartet (CD3)
Daniel Stabrawa, 1st violin
Christian Stadelmann, 2nd violin
Neithard Resa, viola
Jan Diesselhorst, cello
Date: 1988
Label: Camerata

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Max Reger (19 March 1873 – 11 May 1916) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and academic teacher. Reger produced an enormous output over little more than 25 years but only a few of his compositions are well known in the 21st century. Some of the works for solo string instruments turn up often on recordings.

***

Karl Leister (born 15 June 1937) is a classical clarinet player from Wilhelmshaven, Germany. In 1959, Leister joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Herbert von Karajan; this eminently productive musical association was to last for thirty years. During this time, he became internationally recognized as a major soloist and chamber musician.

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Max Bruch; Henri Vieuxtemps - Violin Concertos; Scottish Fantasy (Jascha Heifetz)


Information

Composer: Max Bruch; Henri Vieuxtemps
  1. Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 on G minor, Op. 26: 1. Vorspiel. Allegro moderato
  2. Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 on G minor, Op. 26: 2. Adagio
  3. Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 on G minor, Op. 26: 3. Finale. Allegro energico
  4. Bruch - Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: 1. Introduction. Grave - Adagio cantabile
  5. Bruch - Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: 2. Allegro
  6. Bruch - Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: 3. Adagio - Andante sostenuto
  7. Bruch - Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: 4. Finale. Allegro guerriero
  8. Vieuxtemps - Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor, Op. 37: 1. Allegro non troppo
  9. Vieuxtemps - Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor, Op. 37: 2. Adagio
  10. Vieuxtemps - Violin Concerto No. 5 in A minor, Op. 37: 3. Allegro con fuoco

Jascha Heifetz, violin
New Symphony Orchestra of London
Malcolm Sargent, conductor
Date: 1961 (4-10), 1962 (1-3)
Label: RCA

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Review

When this recording was made in the early 1960s, Bruch’s First Violin Concerto ranked with the most popular concertos in the repertoire, and this version dominated the field—in addition to making the Scottish Fantasy a major work for many people, myself included. There was simply no one who could play this florid Romantic music like Heifetz. Although the mastery of his performances of war-horses like the Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky concertos was virtually assumed, this recording and his stunning mono version of the Korngold Violin Concerto said even more about the artistry and influence of Heifetz. Tempos in the Bruch works are considerably faster than you are likely to hear now, as was the custom in the 1950s. In the Concerto, Sir Malcom Sargent generally plays the purely orchestral passages more swiftly than when he is accompanying Heifetz. This introduces an element of drama that is missing in performances that reduce the music to a syrupy wallow in slow romantic schmaltz. As a result, both the Concerto and the Scottish Fantasy gain in stature. Despite the relatively rapid tempos, the music never sounds rushed. 

The Vieuxtemps Concerto is little more than an exercise in technique with a couple of nice melodies, but Heifetz makes it sound like a minor masterpiece. Make no mistake though. This recording is about the Bruch pieces, and they have never sounded better. They have also never sounded better in a digital format. Some of Heifetz’s three-channel recordings (for example, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto SACD) utilized the third channel to spotlight the soloist, producing the highly undesirable effect of unnaturally detaching him from the orchestra in a way you would never hear in the concert hall. In this spectacularly transparent but not at all harsh two-channel recording, both soloist and orchestra are miked closely, giving a front row perspective. It is breathtaking the way Heifetz occupies his own air space, but remains realistically blended with the orchestra. True, his luscious instrument is a bit bigger than life, but so is his performance. The clarity of the orchestral instruments in this recording is stunning. Just listen to the soft shimmer of the cymbals and the immaculate detail of every note of Osian Ellis’s harp without any unnatural spotlighting in the opening slow movement of the Scottish Fantasy . 

What else can I say? Only that this is the finest recording of Bruch’s masterpieces ever made in terms of both performance and sound. 

-- Arthur Lintgen, FANFARE

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/bruch-vieuxtemps-violin-concertos-etc
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/Apr06/Bruch_Heifetz_82876716222.htm
http://audaud.com/2006/03/max-bruch-violin-concerto-no-1-in-g-minor-scottish-fantasy-henry-vieuxtemps-violin-concerto-no-5-in-a-minor-jascha-heifetz-violinnew-symphony-orchestra-of-london-sir-malcolm-sargent-rca-r/
http://www.amazon.com/Bruch-Concerto-Scottish-Fantasy-Vieuxtemps/dp/B000E1NWGY
http://www.amazon.com/Bruch-Concertos-Scottish-Vieuxtemps-Concerto/dp/B000003EOY
http://www.amazon.com/Heifetz-Concerto-Scottish-Fantasy-Vieuxtemps/dp/B000003FIR

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Max Bruch (6 January 1838 – 2 October 1920) was a German Romantic composer and conductor. He is best known for his first violin concerto, which is a staple of the violin repertory.His complex and unfailingly well-structured works, in the German Romantic musical tradition, placed him in the camp of Romantic classicism exemplified by Johannes Brahms, rather than the opposing "New Music" of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. In his time he was known primarily as a choral composer.

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Henri Vieuxtemps (17 February 1820 – 6 June 1881) was a Belgian composer and violinist. He occupies an important place in the history of the violin as a prominent exponent of the Franco-Belgian violin school during the mid-19th century. He is also known for playing upon what is now known as the Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesu, a violin of superior workmanship. The instrument was later played by noted violin masters like Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman.

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Jascha Heifetz (February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1901 – December 10, 1987) was a violinist, widely considered to be one of the finest violinists of modern times. Born in Vilnius, Russian Empire (now Lithuania), he moved as a teenager to the United States, where he had a long and successful performing and recording career. His near-perfect technique is regarded by many critics as unequaled and caused some critics to accuse him of being overly mechanical, even cold.

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Maurice Ravel; Sergei Prokofiev; Benjamin Britten - Piano Concertos for the Left Hand (Leon Fleisher)


Information

Composer: Maurice Ravel; Sergei Prokofiev; Benjamin Britten
  • (01) Ravel - Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand: Lento - Andante - Allegro - Tempo I
  • (02-05) Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 4 in B-flat major for the Left Hand, Op. 5
  • (06-18) Britten - Diversions for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra, Op. 21

Leon Fleisher, piano
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa, conductor
Date: 1990 (Ravel, Britten), 1991 (Prokofiev)
Label: Sony Classical

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Review

Here’s a bright idea: putting together the three most successful works commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, the pianist who lost his right arm in the Great War. Ravel’s is the masterpiece (though Wittgenstein didn’t see it that way), and it has a strong, cohesive performance. Fleisher announces himself with steely tone, but continues with a broad, singing line that he maintains proudly in the second theme, where many pianists relax. The central and final build-ups are steady, relentless, and eventually cathartic. Prokofiev’s is a surprising case of neglect. Its understated, wry opening leaves unfinished business – explored in the middle movements, excised but not quite eliminated from the brief finale. Maybe the music is short of long-term dramatic contrast, but the playing is highly persuasive as it characterises the quick-changing episodes, and has left me with an appetite for the concerto that I didn’t have before. The Britten, Wittgenstein’s favourite, is weaker: a brittle sequence of attractive, clever variations, resourceful in piano writing, big on prowess, small in heart. But it’s worth a hearing, particularly in such company, supported alertly by the orchestra and given warm-toned, well-balanced sound. If you happen to have the other Ravel concerto on its own, say in Argerich’s or Michelangeli’s recordings, the disc is especially recommendable.

-- Robert Maycock, BBC Music Magazine

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Ravel-Concerto-Prokofiev-Britten-Diversions/dp/B0000027IR

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Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer, pianist and conductor. He is often associated with impressionism along with Claude Debussy. Ravel was an exceptionally skilled orchestrator, as in his well known 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. His best known works include Boléro (1928), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), Daphnis et Chloé (1912).

***

Sergei Prokofiev (23 April, 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor. He was one of the major composers of the 20th century. Prokofiev wrote 7 completed operas, 7 symphonies, 8 ballets, 5 piano concertos, 2 violin concertos, a cello concerto, and 9 completed piano sonatas. Many of his works are widely known and heard such as: the suite 'Lieutenant Kijé', the ballet 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Peter and the Wolf''.

***

Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

***

Leon Fleisher (born July 23, 1928) is an American pianist and conductor. He is particularly well known for his interpretations of the piano concerti of Brahms and Beethoven, which he recorded with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1964, Fleisher lost the use of his right hand, due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia.

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 4 & 5 (Claudio Arrau)


Information

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  1. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: 1. Allegro moderato
  2. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: 2. Andante con moto
  3. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58: 3. Rondo (Vivace)
  4. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 - "Emperor": 1. Allegro
  5. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 - "Emperor": 2. Adagio un poco mosso
  6. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 - "Emperor": 3. Rondo (Allegro)

Claudio Arrau, piano
Staatskapelle Dresden
Colin Davis, conductor
Date: 1984
Label: Philips
http://www.deccaclassics.com/us/cat/4646812

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Review




Certainly one of the more intelligent releases so far in the “Philips 50”, this single disc combines the contents of two earlier single CDs, and most importantly offers the Fourth Piano Concerto without that annoying disc change you have to deal with in the complete set of five. Claudio Arrau’s earlier versions of this coupling for the same label, with Haitink conducting, are available on Eloquence. However, not only is Davis more in sympathy with Arrau’s majestic approach, he’s got the incomparable Staatskapelle Dresden backing him up (not that the Concertgebouw in the earlier version is bad, but Haitink’s no thrill). The result is a Fourth Concerto for the ages: just listen to Arrau’s silky-toned opening, the soft hush of the violin section’s entrance leading up to the thrilling subsequent crescendo. And the slow movement! Words can’t do it justice, nor can they capture the finale’s wonderful sense of vigor within repose.

Arrau’s “Emperor” reveals more angst in the first movement development than most other performances, giving the whole work an added depth of feeling. Some listeners may prefer greater general liveliness, especially in the finale, but I find the approach wholly convincing in scale and so beautifully executed as to silence criticism. Technically speaking, these performances always sounded marvelous, and they still do. Unforgettably grand. [3/6/2001]

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/beethoven-piano-concerto-4-variations
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/beethoven-piano-concerto-no-5-2
http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Concertos-4-5-Emperor/dp/B000051YD6

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Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is one of the most famous and influential of all composers, and a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 7 concertos and 32 piano sonatas.

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Claudio Arrau (February 6, 1903 – June 9, 1991) was a Chilean pianist known for his interpretations of a vast repertoire spanning from the baroque to 20th-century composers, especially Beethoven. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. Although having a big technique and a rich, weighted sonority, Arrau mostly avoided virtuosic displays. He was an intellectual interpreter and his attitude toward music was very serious.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Mieczysław Karłowicz - Symphonic Poems Vol. 2 (Antoni Wit)


Information

Composer: Mieczysław Karłowicz
  1. Returning Waves, Op. 9
  2. A Sorrowful Tale (Preludes to Eternity), Op. 13
  3. Eternal Songs, Op. 10: I. Song of Everlasting Yearning
  4. Eternal Songs, Op. 10: II. Song of Love and Death
  5. Eternal Songs, Op. 10: III. Song of Eternal Being

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Antoni Wit, conductor
Date: 2006
Label: Naxos
http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.570295

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Review

ARTISTIC QUALITY: 9 / SOUND QUALITY: 9

Mieczyslaw Karlowicz was a significant talent, and his early death in 1909 (at age 33) was a serious loss to 20th century Polish music. His symphonic poems are typically refulgent late-Romantic works, full of ambition and, to be frank, pretension. Consider the three parts of Op. 10 (Eternal Songs): Song of Everlasting Yearning; Song of Love and Death; Song of Eternal Being. Heavy-duty stuff, and there’s no point in pretending that Karlowicz, talented as he was, did full justice to the program, but the point is that he tried, tried hard, and produced gobs of richly entertaining music in the process.

Antoni Wit’s first disc of tone poems was exceptional, and this one is excellent as well, if a hair less outstanding than previously. What problems there are stem from having the New Zealand orchestra rather than Wit’s own Warsaw forces. Of course the New Zealanders play very well, and are well recorded, but their string section lacks the luxuriance that the music ideally requires, and while some listeners may prefer a leaner basic sonority, what Karlowicz really asks for is Strauss on steroids (i.e. Korngold and that crowd). Still, you won’t find better performances of this music than Naxos’ edition, and you can purchase this second volume with complete confidence.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/karlowicz-symphonic-poems-vol-2
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Nov08/Karlowicz_8570295.htm
http://www.allmusic.com/album/mieczyslaw-karlowicz-symphonic-poems-vol-2-mw0001862739

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Mieczysław Karłowicz (11 December 1876 – 8 February 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor. Karłowicz's music is of a late Romantic character with influences of Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner. Among his works are a Symphony in E minor (Rebirth, Op. 7), a Violin Concerto in A major (Op. 8), and several tone poems. Karłowicz died at the age of 32 in an avalanche while skiing.

***

Antoni Wit (born February 7, 1944 in Kraków) is a Polish conductor. He has recorded over 90 albums, most of them for the Naxos label, and many of them with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, whose managing and artistic director he was from 1983 to 2000. Since year 2002 he has been music director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Max Reger - Choral Music (Andrew-John Smith)


Information

Composer: Max Reger
  1. Der Einsiedler, for baritone, chorus & piano, Op. 144a
  2. Drei Sechsstimmige Chöre, for unaccompanied chorus, Op. 39: I. Schweigen
  3. Drei Sechsstimmige Chöre, for unaccompanied chorus, Op. 39: II. Abendlied
  4. Drei Sechsstimmige Chöre, for unaccompanied chorus, Op. 39: III. Frühlingsblick
  5. Drei Chöre, for chorus & piano, Op. 6: I. Trost
  6. Drei Chöre, for chorus & piano, Op. 6: II. Zur Nacht
  7. Drei Chöre, for chorus & piano, Op. 6: III. Abendlied
  8. Drei Gesänge, for unaccompanied women's voices, Op. 111b: I. Im Himmelreich Ein Haus Steht
  9. Drei Gesänge, for unaccompanied women's voices, Op. 111b: II. Abendgang Im Lenz
  10. Drei Gesänge, for unaccompanied women's voices, Op. 111b: III. Er Ist's
  11. Palmsonntagmorgen, for unaccompanied chorus
  12. Requiem, for alto, chorus & piano, Op. 144b

Alexander Learmonth, baritone (1)
Alice Gribbin, mezzo-soprano (12)
Christopher Glynn, piano (1, 5-7, 12)
Consortium, vocal ensemble
Andrew-John Smith, conductor
Date: 2009
Label: Hyperion
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA67762

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Review

Richly textured choral music that might challenge Reger’s perceived reputation

This disc yields up two secrets too long hidden from the public consciousness. Hyperion deserves a large vote of thanks for bringing both to our attention.

The first is the choral music of Max Reger. Such an easy, palindromic name, yet such an awesome reputation for creating impenetrable and indigestible musical monsters; organ music appearing on the page with only the very margins free of black printers’ ink, orchestral scores heavily overlaid with dense instrumental texture, and an obsession with chorale melodies which leads to the simplest of melodies being put through the most devastatingly labyrinthine hurdles. There is a bit of that here – notably in Der Einsiedler with its undercurrent of “Nun ruhen alle Wälder”, the shifting chromatic sands of its baritone solo, presented with delectable poise by Alexander Learmonth, and its intense accompaniment, tackled with breathtaking sensitivity by pianist Christopher Glynn – but mostly this music is characterised by a level of reserve and restraint one doesn’t usually associate with Reger. The unaccompanied songs, most especially those from Op 39, are richly textured and lovingly crafted, the setting of Geibel’s Palmsonntagmorgen a model of almost naive simplicity, spiced up with some deliciously piquant harmonies. The substantial Requiem – a setting of verses by Hebbel rather than the ecclesiastical Latin – is (apparently) a homage to the “German heroes fallen in the Great War”. It is certainly deeply moving, even in this much-reduced version of a score which calls for large chorus and orchestra, the contralto of Alice Gribbin adding a hauntingly austere quality.

The second secret revealed here is the four-year-old choir, Consortium. They may not have sanded down all the rough edges in terms of blend and tone but their singing is sensitive and technically impressive. Andrew-John Smith draws from them an infinitely subtle dynamic range and some impeccably moulded phrasing which certainly serves Reger uncommonly well. One suspects this repertoire could have found no finer exponents to bring it to public attention.

-- Marc Rochester, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/DEC10/Reger_CDA67762.htm
http://www.classicfm.com/composers/max-reger/album-reviews/beating-heart-reger
http://www.amazon.com/Reger-Choral-Music-Consortium/dp/B0042ZUNH4

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Max Reger (19 March 1873 – 11 May 1916) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and academic teacher. Reger produced an enormous output over little more than 25 years but only a few of his compositions are well known in the 21st century. Some of the works for solo string instruments turn up often on recordings.

***

Andrew-John Smith is an English conductor and organist. He studied as an organ scholar at New College, Oxford and the Amsterdam Conservatorium. Smith has worked with numerous distinguished musicians and ensembles and is increasingly in demand as conductor of the much lauded chamber choir, Consortium, whose recordings of Brahms and Reger for Hyperion have been universally well received.

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Max Bruch - Works for Clarinet & Viola (Paul Meyer; Gérard Caussé)


Information

Composer: Max Bruch
  1. Concerto for clarinet, viola & orchestra in E minor, Op. 88: I. Andante con moto
  2. Concerto for clarinet, viola & orchestra in E minor, Op. 88: II. Allegro moderato
  3. Concerto for clarinet, viola & orchestra in E minor, Op. 88: III. Allegro molto
  4. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 1 in A minor. Andante
  5. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 2 in B minor. Allegro con moto
  6. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 3 in C sharp minor. Andante con moto
  7. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 4 in D minor. Allegro agitato
  8. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 5 in F minor. Rumänische Melodie. Andante
  9. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 6 in G minor. Nachtgesang. Andante con moto
  10. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 7 in B major. Allegro vivace, ma non troppo
  11. 8 Pieces for clarinet, viola & piano, Op. 83: No. 8 in E flat minor. Moderato
  12. Romance for viola & orchestra in F major, Op. 85: Andante con moto

Paul Meyer, clarinet
Gérard Caussé, viola
François-René Duchâble, piano
Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon
Kent Nagano, conductor
Date: 1988 (1-3, 12), 1989 (4-11)
Label: Erato

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Review

For two consecutive years listeners to Classic FM have voted Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto their favourite among 300 classical works. His melodies have instant appeal and it is good to see three comparative rarities on this disc. Bruch loved alto-register instruments such as the clarinet and viola, and he wrote these works in 1911 when giant leaps were taking place in the development of music, all of which he eschewed in favour of mid-19th-century Romanticism. While the clarinet rides orchestral accompaniment with no difficulty, the viola sits right in the middle and can be drowned (a hazard in performing the Double Concerto but avoided in the recording studio). The viola Romance is a gem, while the Eight Pieces are colourful and varied. All the performers do ample justice to this beautiful and unashamedly Romantic music.

-- Christopher Fifield, BBC Music Magazine

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/bruch-works-for-clarinet-and-viola
http://www.amazon.com/Bruch-Works-Clarinet-Viola-Max/dp/B00005OBR9

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Max Bruch (6 January 1838 – 2 October 1920) was a German Romantic composer and conductor. He is best known for his first violin concerto, which is a staple of the violin repertory.His complex and unfailingly well-structured works, in the German Romantic musical tradition, placed him in the camp of Romantic classicism exemplified by Johannes Brahms, rather than the opposing "New Music" of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. In his time he was known primarily as a choral composer.

***

Paul Meyer (born 1965 in Mulhouse, France) is a French clarinetist. He is known for his solo recordings on the Denon label, notably in collaborations with Jean-Pierre Rampal and Eric Le Sage. Meyer is a noted champion of new music for the clarinet and also the more obscure offerings of the traditional clarinet repertoire. He plays on a Buffet Crampon Divine model clarinet.

***

Gérard Caussé (born 1948, Toulouse, France) is a French violist. His recordings include more than thirty-five issued under labels such as EMI, Erato and Philips. Gerard Caussé plays a viola made by Gasparo da Salo in 1560.

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 (Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli)


Information

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: 1. Allegro con brio - Cadenza: Ludwig van Beethoven
  2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: 2. Largo
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15: 3. Rondo. Allegro - Cadenza: Ludwig van Beethoven
  4. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: 1. Allegro con brio - Cadenza: Beethoven
  5. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: 2. Largo
  6. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: 3. Rondo. Allegro

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor
Date: 1979
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4497572

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Review

Michelangeli’s First Beethoven Concerto will not be to every listener’s liking. High on drama, but short on lyricism, it is has the same shortcomings as his Mozart. The first movement has an engaging heroic grandeur, but the slow movement drags and the finale lacks wit, lightness and sparkle. The Third concerto is similarly frustrating. After a first movement that is not inappropriately hectoring, the slow one is hauntingly beautiful, unexpectedly reflective, an endless paean of poetry that reveals apparently limitless depths. It is another triumph of Michelangeli’s beautiful sound, but the finale is then dismissive and even perfunctory. What is consistent about Michelangeli, is that he always holds true to himself and to his vision of the music, irrespective of how conventional or not this may make his interpretations.

-- Ying ChangClassical Source
reviewing box set "The Art of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli", DG 469820

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/beethoven-piano-concerto-no-1-sonata-no-4
http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-Concertos-Michelangeli-Giulini/dp/B000001GXL

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Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is one of the most famous and influential of all composers, and a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 7 concertos and 32 piano sonatas.

***

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (5 January 1920 – 12 June 1995) was an Italian virtuoso pianist, widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. He was famous for his flawless technique and obsession about perfectionism. His student included Martha Argerich and Ivan Moravec.

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