Beethoven piano concertos

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arnolj10
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Beethoven piano concertos

Post by arnolj10 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:16 am

There are plenty of classic recordings of these knocking around, about whose merits most people are roughly agreed -- in no particular order, Kempff, Barenboim, Ashkenazy, Fleisher, Serkin, maybe Lupu or Gould.
But there have also been plenty of new cycles released in recent years, and I have far less of an idea of what's good and what's not. There's much praise at the moment for a newish set from Howard Shelley on Chandos, which comes hot on the heels of cycles from Paul Lewis, Mikhail Pletnev, Yevgeny Kissin and Richard Goode. Mitsuko Uchida, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Murray Perahia are still pretty fresh, too. Is there anything much to choose between these sets? The bits I've heard so far have tended towards a certain homogeneity: lean, lithe, tasteful etc in the modern manner, without necessarily anything especially distinctive to say -- but I am no doubt being unfair.
Any particular recommendations?

mikealdren
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by mikealdren » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:39 pm

try Gilels/Ludwig in 4&5, especially 4, still my favourite of all.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:25 pm

Strong recommendation for Paul Lewis: it's a very fine set and stands up to the best of the competition.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:36 pm

I'm partial to the earlier Pollini cycle with Bohm conducting (in 3-5) and Jochum (1 & 2)...is that "new-ish" enough?

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Allen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:03 pm

I also recommend the Paul Lewis set.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Seán » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:09 pm

Consider this post as another vote for the Jiri Belohlavek/BBC Symphony Orchestra, Paul Lewis piano cycle.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Jared » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:45 pm

I have cycles by Aimard, Brendel, Pollini & Kempff... and to be honest, I like them all.. :)

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Lance » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:10 pm

Well, as you can imagine, I have an enormous number of complete Beethoven PC sets, supplemented with countless individual performances. No matter what you acquire, Rubinstein, who is NOT known particularly as a Beethoven interpreter, outdid himself with his first stereo set for RCA Victor with Alfred Wallenstein conducting. I would certainly make that one of your choices and the price is right. Rubinstein also recorded them with Barenboim and Leinsdorf conducting, but the Symphony of the Air under Wallenstein finds Rubinstein in particularly outstanding in his first complete cycle.

Beyond that, the cycle by Solomon on EMI is most worthy (in mono and stereo - not all were recorded in stereo) ... ah, the choices are so many. Gilels did an interesting set with the Cleveland Orchestra/Szell on EMI, but yet another set with Kurt Masur that has just come out on the Brilliant Classics label (very inexpensively, too).

I'm trying to make a ball game party tonight (Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. West Virginia) ... something I don't usually do, so my mind is not thinking of additional great choices for complete sets of Beethoven piano concerti! I have the Goode, Perahia, Kempffs two versions, and a host of others. Fortunately, we have many good older and contemporary recordings from which to choose.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:01 pm

If you looking for Complete Sets then from the many that I own the following three are the ones I return to most often...

Paul Lewis
Murray Perahia
Anton Kuerti

There are dozens of great recordings of individual Concertos but special mention goes to...

Sir Clifford Curzon and Emil Gilels in the Fifth
Till Fellner and Leon Fleisher in Three and Four
Martha Argerich in the Second
Sviatoslav Richter in the First

Also, Lang Lang in One and Four...
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by RebLem » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:33 pm

A good starter set, to me, would consist of the following:

1. The Fleisher/Szell set.
2. The Goode/Fischer set.
3. The Curzon/Kubelik recording of 4 & 5.

If you have those three, I suggest as a rule of thumb that you should get about 2000 other recordings before you get more Beethoven PC recordings, if you want a well-rounded collection.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by bombasticDarren » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:22 pm

The ones that stick out for me are:-

Daniel Barenboim/Otto Klemperer

Paul Lewis/Jiri Belohlavek

John Lill/Alexander Gibson

Murray Perahia/Bernard Haitink

The Argerich disc with Abbado (2 & 3) is also of note. But, really, there are tonnes of options for these concertos that it's hard to single too many out :?

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:39 pm

Lance wrote:Well, as you can imagine, I have an enormous number of complete Beethoven PC sets, supplemented with countless individual performances. No matter what you acquire, Rubinstein, who is NOT known particularly as a Beethoven interpreter, outdid himself with his first stereo set for RCA Victor with Alfred Wallenstein conducting. I would certainly make that one of your choices and the price is right.
Hello Lance - wasn't it Josef Krips (instead of Wallenstein) who collaborated with AR in the first stereo recordings of the PCs?

While we are on this subject, AR made three complete cycles to my knowledge The Krips mentioned above, followed by Leinsdorf and finally with Barenboim. Which of the three is the best in your opinion? How does the Beecham recording compare to Ruby's other 4ths? (the 4th is my favourite LvB PC).

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by rogch » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Aimard/Harnoncourt and Kempf/Leitner are both very good. Has anybody heard the complete Brautigam/Parrot cycle on BIS? I have only heard nos. 1 and 3, and no. 1 in particular was incredible.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by hangos » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:02 pm

Chalkperson wrote:If you looking for Complete Sets then from the many that I own the following three are the ones I return to most often...

Paul Lewis
Murray Perahia
Anton Kuerti

There are dozens of great recordings of individual Concertos but special mention goes to...

Sir Clifford Curzon and Emil Gilels in the Fifth
Till Fellner and Leon Fleisher in Three and Four
Martha Argerich in the Second
Sviatoslav Richter in the First

Also, Lang Lang in One and Four...
chalkie, are you serious? :lol:

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:59 am

hangos wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:If you looking for Complete Sets then from the many that I own the following three are the ones I return to most often...

Paul Lewis
Murray Perahia
Anton Kuerti

There are dozens of great recordings of individual Concertos but special mention goes to...

Sir Clifford Curzon and Emil Gilels in the Fifth
Till Fellner and Leon Fleisher in Three and Four
Martha Argerich in the Second
Sviatoslav Richter in the First

Also, Lang Lang in One and Four...
chalkie, are you serious? :lol:
Yep, I really enjoy that CD... :D :D :D
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arnolj10
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by arnolj10 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:29 am

I’d really like to restrict the discussion to complete sets, and to modern recordings, since I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from weighing Gilels against Rubinstein against Curzon et al.
What I’d really like to know is, among the half-dozen or so complete sets that have been released over the past couple of years, if any stand out especially, and why. From what I’ve heard of them, and even from reviews, it’s hard to see any of them as any more than extremely competent. To take the Uchida recording as an example, her playing is widely seen as perfect, the model of good taste, but I have always found it hard to get too excited (the set might be improved by the fact that she is accompanied by Kurt Sanderling, rather than the well-mannered Davises, Marriners and Haitinks who so often do the job). The Perahia set seems if anything even more mainstream.
What I’m really looking for is a set that has something distinctive to say, that perhaps has some of the impact that the (still excellent) Melvyn Tan/Roger Norrington performances had. Much as I dislike the honky-tonk sound of the fortepiano, those recordings had an energy (especially in the orchestra) that seems so often missing in the more Apollonian modern performances. How about Goode and Fischer? They strike me as being the likeliest combination to produce something special.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by John F » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:38 am

arnolj10 wrote:I’d really like to restrict the discussion to complete sets, and to modern recordings, since I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from weighing Gilels against Rubinstein against Curzon et al.
You've got to be kidding. But whatever.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:55 am

arnolj10 wrote:I’d really like to restrict the discussion to complete sets, and to modern recordings, since I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from weighing Gilels against Rubinstein against Curzon et al.
What I’d really like to know is, among the half-dozen or so complete sets that have been released over the past couple of years, if any stand out especially, and why. From what I’ve heard of them, and even from reviews, it’s hard to see any of them as any more than extremely competent. To take the Uchida recording as an example, her playing is widely seen as perfect, the model of good taste, but I have always found it hard to get too excited (the set might be improved by the fact that she is accompanied by Kurt Sanderling, rather than the well-mannered Davises, Marriners and Haitinks who so often do the job). The Perahia set seems if anything even more mainstream.
What I’m really looking for is a set that has something distinctive to say, that perhaps has some of the impact that the (still excellent) Melvyn Tan/Roger Norrington performances had. Much as I dislike the honky-tonk sound of the fortepiano, those recordings had an energy (especially in the orchestra) that seems so often missing in the more Apollonian modern performances. How about Goode and Fischer? They strike me as being the likeliest combination to produce something special.
I'm afraid you've answered your own question in a roundabout way, you're basically looking to choose between one generic modern interpretation or another by restricting it to the specified constraints. Goode, Lewis et al are surely competent, all of the notes are there, but these modern performances by and large lack the character of the interpretations by Gilels, Serkin, et al, which you have so casually thrown out of the discussion. The only newer set with any individuality (aside from this nonsensical HIP-Beethoven) is the Pletnev, but that set is to my ears almost willful, even interpretively wayward. Might I ask why a very recent cycle is of such high importance to you? Is it sonics?

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by RebLem » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:37 am

John F wrote:
arnolj10 wrote:I’d really like to restrict the discussion to complete sets, and to modern recordings, since I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from weighing Gilels against Rubinstein against Curzon et al.
You've got to be kidding. But whatever.
Ditto.

I find the recent Goode/Fischer set to be Fleisher/Szell's first serious competition for the top spot. I just think the performances os the middle three concerti are absolutely revelatory and the best ever. The 1st is competitive with any. Only the Emperor is perhaps a bit pedestrian and disappointing.
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by gperkins151 » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:02 am

arnolj10 wrote:I’d really like to restrict the discussion to complete sets, and to modern recordings, since I’m not sure there’s much to be gained from weighing Gilels against Rubinstein against Curzon et al.
What I’d really like to know is, among the half-dozen or so complete sets that have been released over the past couple of years, if any stand out especially, and why.

What I’m really looking for is a set that has something distinctive to say, that perhaps has some of the impact that the (still excellent) Melvyn Tan/Roger Norrington performances had.
I really like Serkin in the concertos and his set on Orfeo with Kubelik has the sound you require. http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Piano-C ... 153&sr=1-1

Also wonderful and in even more modern, lush sound is Russell Sherman. In fact, this is probably my favorite set.
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Russell-Sher ... 066&sr=8-3
George

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:46 pm

Why on earth you would dismiss older Sets is beyond me, you then suggest that Lewis is only competent, judging from the opinions presented here it seems unanimous that it's a great modern Set, and, many of us tend to prefer older recordings, I don't see that there is much more advice that we can give you at this point...
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by josé echenique » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:07 am

Though recently issued in ORFEO a 1977 Munich cycle with Serkin and Kubelik shouldn´t be missed, it´s fantastic. And the sound is magnificent, the piano is caught so vividly and truthfully that leaves many digital versions in the shade. Recorded in single concerts with no retakes, this is real music making of distinction.
By the way the great Serkin plays far better than in the studio recording with Ozawa.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by rogch » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:25 pm

I like both old and new recordings. But if someone wants to discuss modern recordings in particular i can't see anything wrong with that. Just like discussions about legendary recordings can be interesting. And they are mentioned a lot in this forum, anren't they?
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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Chung » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:46 pm

arnolj10 wrote:There are plenty of classic recordings of these knocking around, about whose merits most people are roughly agreed -- in no particular order, Kempff, Barenboim, Ashkenazy, Fleisher, Serkin, maybe Lupu or Gould.
But there have also been plenty of new cycles released in recent years, and I have far less of an idea of what's good and what's not. There's much praise at the moment for a newish set from Howard Shelley on Chandos, which comes hot on the heels of cycles from Paul Lewis, Mikhail Pletnev, Yevgeny Kissin and Richard Goode. Mitsuko Uchida, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Murray Perahia are still pretty fresh, too. Is there anything much to choose between these sets? The bits I've heard so far have tended towards a certain homogeneity: lean, lithe, tasteful etc in the modern manner, without necessarily anything especially distinctive to say -- but I am no doubt being unfair.
Any particular recommendations?
None of the newer sets that I've heard (1990 onward have been particularly distinguished. Pleasant for sure, but not eminently worthy of repeated listening). The only newer sets that I've picked up or heard are Zinman/Bronfman, Wordsworth/Vladar and Kissin/Davis. The rest that I've got are older but get a lot more playing time. I especially like my sets of Ax/Previn, Fleisher/Szell and Gulda/Stein. I also like to take one of the concertos from Barenboim/Klemperer, Lill/Gibson (first set on EMI) or Zacharias/Vonk for the occasional spin.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by arnolj10 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:42 pm

Why on earth you would dismiss older Sets is beyond me, you then suggest that Lewis is only competent, judging from the opinions presented here it seems unanimous that it's a great modern Set, and, many of us tend to prefer older recordings, I don't see that there is much more advice that we can give you at this point...
I did not 'dismiss' older sets. Instead, I simply hoped to ask specifically about the flurry of recent complete recordings, without necessarily getting bogged down in a hopelessly wide-ranging discussion of every possible performance in the catalogue. If I hurt your feelings by calling Paul Lewis 'competent', then I'm sorry, although I'm not sure why you would consider competence a bad thing. I just meant to imply that his recordings (like those of the sonatas, too), seemed well-played and well-mannered, without necessarily being expressive of any strong character -- unlike, say, Gilels, Gieseking, Nat, Schnabel, Lupu, Gulda, Richter and many others.

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Re: Beethoven piano concertos

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:52 am

arnolj10 wrote:
Why on earth you would dismiss older Sets is beyond me, you then suggest that Lewis is only competent, judging from the opinions presented here it seems unanimous that it's a great modern Set, and, many of us tend to prefer older recordings, I don't see that there is much more advice that we can give you at this point...
I did not 'dismiss' older sets. Instead, I simply hoped to ask specifically about the flurry of recent complete recordings, without necessarily getting bogged down in a hopelessly wide-ranging discussion of every possible performance in the catalogue. If I hurt your feelings by calling Paul Lewis 'competent', then I'm sorry, although I'm not sure why you would consider competence a bad thing. I just meant to imply that his recordings (like those of the sonatas, too), seemed well-played and well-mannered, without necessarily being expressive of any strong character -- unlike, say, Gilels, Gieseking, Nat, Schnabel, Lupu, Gulda, Richter and many others.
You certainly did not hurt my feelings, Lewis has made the best set in recent memory as far as I am concerned, but then you list the classic older Sets, maybe that Era is over now...to my ears Lewis sounds fresh, and making these works sound fresh is not exactly easy...

You could always try Brautigan... :wink:
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