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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Lars Vogt, Ludwig van Beethoven, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (3) - Disc #2

The combination of Lars Vogt's fluid pianism and Rattle's bold, thrustful handling of Beethoven's orchestral part results in a pair of provocative performances that command attention. It's rare to hear these early concerto...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Lars Vogt, Ludwig van Beethoven, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle
Title: Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/2002
Re-Release Date: 7/2/2002
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Concertos, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Instruments, Keyboard, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 724355626622

Synopsis

Amazon.com
The combination of Lars Vogt's fluid pianism and Rattle's bold, thrustful handling of Beethoven's orchestral part results in a pair of provocative performances that command attention. It's rare to hear these early concertos played with this combination of Haydnesque delicacy and the muscularity of the later Beethoven, an effect enhanced by the up-front engineering. At times, Rattle's attention to detail and dynamic extremes comes perilously close to sounding mannered, but in a concerto setting, the pianist keeps things on an even keel. Vogt's pearly tones and lucid playing in the outer movements are immensely appealing. He uses Beethoven's own cadenzas in both concertos, but--and here is where this release offers an interesting novelty--there's a bonus disc of Concerto No. 1 included, in which Vogt plays the cadenzas written by Glenn Gould for his own use back in 1954. They're wildly different from Beethoven's own; less rhapsodic, more a contrapuntal commentary on the Beethoven text. --Dan Davis
 

CD Reviews

One of the best CDs of Beethoven's early piano concerti
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 04/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Pianist Lars Vogt and Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's recording of the first two Beethoven piano concertos still remains among the best in a crowded field dominated by the likes of Schiff, Perahia, Brendel and Arrau, among others, with respect to pianists. Vogt offers a fluid, Haydnesque sensibility to his performances which are strikingly contrasted by Rattle's vigorous conducting of Beethoven's scores; perhaps a choice made deliberately by the EMI sound engineers who recorded these performances. As an intriguing added bonus, the second CD is a version of the 1st Piano Concerto with Glenn Gould's relatively terse, but no less dramatic, cadenzas played in lieu of the traditional ones composed by Beethoven. These performances are yet another splendid collaboration amongst Vogt, Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra that began with their splendid EMI recording of the Grieg and Schumann piano concerti. This CD is still recommended with much enthusiasm by the Penguin Guide to Classical Music CDs, and should not be overlooked by anyone interested in a fine recent recording of the early Beethoven piano concerti."
Delicate balance, pristine playing for classical Beethoven
C. B Collins Jr. | Atlanta, GA United States | 05/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lars Vogt's presentation of the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C deserves 5 stars as does the incredible job of Conductor Simon Rattle and the Cleveland Orchestra.

The opening passage of the first movement is perfectly measured and balanced yet simultaneously lyric and uplifting. It is finely controlled yet demonstrates power in the presentation of the energetic Allegro con brio. The work uplifts us with brilliance and joy and even a sense of playfulness. Then the lyric scales almost hypnotize with their grace and fluidity. The heroic emerges with a sense of bravura but always controlled and measured and balanced.

The performance at times does strike me as Mozartian with grounding in the classicism of the 18th century and then I hear the radical, free-spirited bravura of the work that separates this from Mozart. Precise would best describe this interpretation by Vogt. Precision in the silent passages and quite moments is essential to the completion of the first movement.

The Largo is measured and softly gentle, yet Beethoven pushes the unexpected in this elegant middle movement. The playing is pristine and yet never airy. The Largo does not seem warm to me, for it feels structured even pastoral with the repetitions and variations becoming familiar as the piece progresses. The Largo is graceful yet more poetic than emotive as the woodwinds offer a balance to the resolution.

The opening passages of the Rondo (Allegro) is high entertainment and high energy. But as the piece progresses it grows in complexity though we return repeatedly to the theme with witty variations until the final passage where we are treated to a burst of energy to awaken us again. The Piano Concerto No. 1 in C seems to represent a very classical Beethoven and Vogt captures this not as a deficit but as an asset.

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat is also stellar on this CD.

The Allegro con brio is here presented with all its energy and power but the power resides also in the emergence of the poetic hints that infiltrate the assertive primary theme of the piece.

The Adagio is here presented with all its warmth and drama and deeply flowing emotions and depth of spirit. The Rondo (Allegro molto) is presented with all its playfulness, surprises and comedic joy. This short piece at 5 minutes and fifty three seconds is a jewel, fully compacted and edited like a perfect short story. I never drift when I listen to this final movement of the 2nd piano concerto. For it is brilliant as sun light.

The CD includes a very interesting bonus of Vogt playing the first and second movement of the Piano Concerto No. 1 using the cadence written by Glenn Gould. This is an interesting and thoughtful addition.

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