Beethoven - The Complete Concertos (5 CD box set, FLAC)
Beethoven - The Complete Concertos (5 CD box set, FLAC)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 5 CD box set
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 1.53 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Daniel Barenboim, Myung-Whun Chung, Pascal Gallois, Patrick Gallois, Lidia Grychtolowna, Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maurizzio Pollini, Sviatoslav Richter, Gil Shaham, Mark Zeltser

Berliner Philharmoniker, English Chamber Orchestra, Folkwang-Kammerorchester, London Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker

Daniel Barenboim, Karl Bohm, Myung-Whun Chung, Heinz Dressel, Eugen Jochum, Herbert von Karajan, Kurt Sanderling, Emil Tchakarov

Disc 1:
01. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 – 1. Allegro con brio
02. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 – 2. Largo
03. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 – 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando)
04. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 – 1. Allegro con brio – Cadenza
05. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 – 2. Adagio
06. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 – 3. Rondo (Molto allegro)
07. Rondo in B flat for piano & orchestra, WoO6 – Fragment, ergänzt von Carl Czerny

Disc 2:
01. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 – 1. Allegro con brio
02. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 – 2. Largo
03. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 – 3. Rondo (Allegro)
04. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 – 1. Allegro moderato
05. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 – 2. Andante con moto
06. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 – 3. Rondo (Vivace)
07. Romance cantabile for piano, flute and basson accompanied by two oboes and strings in E minor Hess 13 (fragment completet by Hess)

Also available:  Rimsky-Korsakov – Life and Work (4CD, FLAC)

Disc 3:
01. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -“Emperor” – 1. Allegro
02. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -“Emperor” – 2. Adagio un poco mosso
03. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -“Emperor” – 3. Rondo (Allegro)
04. Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 1. Allegro
05. Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 2. Largo – attacca
06. Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C, Op.56 – 3. Rondo alla Polacca

Disc 4:
01. Violin Concerto in D, Op.61 – 1. Allegro ma non troppo
02. Violin Concerto in D, Op.61 – 2. Larghetto
03. Violin Concerto in D, Op.61 – 3. Rondo. Allegro
04. Concerto movement in C major for violin and chamber orchestra – Fragment completed by Wilfried Fischer – Allegro con brio
05. Violin Romance No.1 in G major, Op.40
06. Violin Romance No.2 in F major, Op.50

Disc 5:
01. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D major – (arranged by the composer from the Violin Concerto op. 61) – 1. Allegretto ma non troppo
02. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D major – (arranged by the composer from the Violin Concerto op. 61) – 2. Larghetto – attacca
03. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D major – (arranged by the composer from the Violin Concerto op. 61) – 3. Rondo. Allegro
04. Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – 1. Allegro moderato
05. Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – 2. Larghetto
06. Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4 – 3. Rondo (Allegretto)

An Inexpensive But Valuable Anthology

I purchased this mostly for Pollini’s first Beethoven concerto cycle with Böhm and Jochum, which I prefer to his later traversal with Abbado. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the extra-canonical works, including movements from early efforts at concertos for violin and piano (the latter possibly spurious), as well as the composer’s own piano transcription of his Opus 61 Violin Concerto. The early concerto attempts proved delightful, if comparatively insubstantial, works (no lost masterpieces, but pleasant). The piano version of Opus 61 will never replace the oriignal in anyone’s affections, but it sports a splendid first-movement candenza that features something like a duet with timipani (thus bringing unity to a movement that begins, famously, with five taps on that instrument).

None of the performances contained in this anthology are less than tolerably good (that would go for the Mutter/Karajan Violin Concerto and the Mutter/Zeltser/Ma Triple Concerto, as well as for the extracanonical works), but Pollini’s splendid traversal of the canonical five Piano Concertos is the main attraction here. His intellectual probity, pellucid tone and clarity of texture afford consistent pleasure. His legendary virtuosity is entirely in service to the music. Böhm (who, regrettably, didn’t live to complete his collaboration with Pollini), and Jochum (who took his place for Concertos 1 & 2), marshal the collective artistry of the VPO to excellent effect. They are true collaborators, not mere accompanists. This has always been one of my all-time favorite Beethoven concerto cycles, and I was happy to see it resurfacing in this inexpensive anthology. The sound is a bit thin in the bass–as was the norm for DG recordings during this period), but otherwise crystal clear. Definitely recommended, either for Pollini admirers or for adventurers into unusual repertoire (i.e., the fragments and extracanonical works).

5 Comments

Leave a Reply