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Brendel, Rattle: The 5 Piano Concertos (FLAC)

Brendel, Rattle: The 5 Piano Concertos (FLAC)
Brendel, Rattle: The 5 Piano Concertos (FLAC)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Alfred Brendel
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
Number of Discs: 3
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Philips
Catalogue: 4627812
Release: 1999
Size: 693 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

CD 01
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
01. 1. Allegro con brio
02. 2. Largo
03. 3. Rondo. Allegro scherzando

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
04. 1. Allegro moderato
05. 2. Andante con moto
06. 3. Rondo. Vivace

CD 02
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
01. 1. Allegro con brio
02. 2. Adagio
03. 3. Rondo. Molto allegro

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
04. 1. Allegro con brio
05. 2. Largo
06. 3. Rondo. Allegro

CD 03
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ‘Emperor’
01. 1. Allegro
02. 2. Adagio un poco mosso
03. 3. Rondo. Allegro

Happily, Alfred Brendel’s fourth recorded cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos shares with the previous three qualities of energy, sensibility, intellectual rigour and high pianistic finish which made the earlier recordings so interesting.

Brendel has always played all five slow movements supremely well, drawing the orchestra around him like a celebrant at the communion table and here we have even finer performances than previously.

In the two early concertos the Vienna Philharmonic’s playing has a sweetness and allure, in the grander, later works a black-browed power, that’s specially its own. Brendel’s playing in the early concertos recalls his fine recordings of the early sonatas and the early and late Bagatelles, but it’s as a private person impatient with the conventions and frock-coated formalities of the concertos as ‘public’ works. With No 3 we move into a different world. This is a marvellous performance from all three partners, purposeful and robust, the tonic C minor the cue for a reading full of darkness and menace, basses to the fore, drums at the ready. The finale is particularly ominous (relieved only by a lustrous clarinet solo) after an account of the slow movement, full toned yet deeply quiet, the like of which is rarely heard. The C minor Concerto’s heroic antitype, the Emperor in E flat, fares less well. Not the slow movement or finale, but the first movement which is slower than previously, to no very good effect. Perhaps interpreters nowadays are less happy than their predecessors were with Beethoven’s heroic persona.

Back in the private world of the Fourth Concerto, soloist, orchestra and conductor are at their inspired best. Brendel’s glittering, wonderfully propelled account of the solo part is superbly backed by playing of real fire and sensitivity. The recordings are first rate.

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