Backhaus: Beethoven - Piano Concertos 1-5, Diabelli Variations (3 CD, FLAC)
Backhaus: Beethoven - Piano Concertos 1-5, Diabelli Variations (3 CD, FLAC)

Performer: Wilhelm Backhaus
Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 3 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 991 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in C
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus
Conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

# Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B flat
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus
Conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

# Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in C minor
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus
Conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

# Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus
Conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

# Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, ‘Emperor’ in E flat
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus
Conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

# Variations in C on a Waltz by Diabelli, ‘Diabelli Variations’
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
with Wilhelm Backhaus

Disc: 1
01. Piano Concerto No.1 in C, Op.15: I. Allegro Con Brio
02. Piano Concerto No.1 in C, Op.15: II. Largo
03. Piano Concerto No.1 in C, Op.15: III. Rondo: Allegro
04. Piano Concerto No.3 in c, Op.37: I. Allegro Con Brio
05. Piano Concerto No.3 in c, Op.37: II. Largo
06. Piano Concerto No.3 in c, Op.37: III. Rondo: Allegro

Disc: 2
01. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat, Op.19: I. Allegro Con Brio
02. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat, Op.19: II. Adagio
03. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat, Op.19: III. Rondo: Molto Allegro
04. Tema, Vivace: I. Alla Marcia Maestoso/II. Poco Allegro/III L’istesso Tempo/IV. Un Poco Piu Vivace…
05. Tema, Vivace: VI. Allegro Ma Non Troppo E Serioso/VII. Un Poco Piu Allegro/VIII. Poco Vivace…
06. Tema, Vivace: XI. Allegretto/XII. Un Poco Piu Moto/XIII. Vivace/XIV. Grave E Maestoso/XV. Presto…
07. Tema, Vivace: XVI. Allegro/XVII/XVIII. Poco Moderato/XIX. Presto/XX. Andante
08. Tema, Vivace: XXI. Allegro Con Brio-Meno Allegro/XXII. Allegro Molto (Alla ‘Notte E Giorno…
09. Tema, Vivace: XXVI/XXVII. Vivace/XXVIII. Allegro
10. Tema, Vivace: XXIX. Adagio Ma Non Troppo/XXX. Andante Sempre Cantabile/XXXI. Largo, Molto…
11. Tema, Vivace: XXXII. Fuga: Allegro-Poco Adagio
12. Tema, Vivace: XXXIII. Tempo Di Minuetto Moderato

Disc: 3
01. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: I. Allegro Moderato
02. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: II. Andante Con Moto
03. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: III. Rondo: Vivace
04. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op.73: I. Allegro
05. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op.73: II. Adagio Un Poco Mosso
06. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Op.73: III. Rondo: Allegro

After the Sonatas, another lifetime investment

Of how many recordings do you suppose you can say: This sounds just right; I can hardly imagine it being bettered? In a field as competitive as Beethoven’s concertos, this might sound like reaching too far?
Yet history, an unimpeachable witness, has already declared in favour of this album.
We won’t aim as high as “the truth”. Just magisterial command of the metier will do. There are sure to be two or three other artists of whom exactly the same can be said, in relation to this collection. Perhaps Claudio Arrau or Wilhelm Kempff. Nevertheless, the assessment stands.
For this album is not just any recording in a competitive market, but one of the defining hours in the history of the recorded repertoire. Considering its date, 1959, it sounds remarkably good. If your ears on any day are unspoilt by other recordings, it will sound as clear as you might wish. Isserstedt and the Vienna Philharmonic give a superb account of themselves too.
No need to dwell on details. There are no “highlights”, no eccentricities, just the right mood, tempo and flawless execution for each concerto.
I would expect to see this recording still on sale in 100 years to an enthusiastic audience of Beethoven fans, who want only the best – and in those stakes, Backhaus/Isserstedt have very little genuine competition.

1 Comment

  1. Backhaus’ Bosendorfer produced, in my humble opinion, one of the most marvellous sounds of the universe. His rendition of the cadenza in the 4th Klavierkonzert is way too beautiful.

    Thank you again, whatever.

Leave a Reply