Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Daniel Barenboim, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra|
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 5 & 4
Listen to Samples
Fussy playing and mannered conducting aren't a good match
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 07/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Considering that he was the soloist in 1968 on Klemperer's acclaimed set of Beethoven piano cncertos, you'd think Barenboim would have absorbed something special. Instead, he took on the role of both conductor and soloist in 1987 and is diminished in both roles. His piano playing is fussed over in a way that the younger Barenboim never did, while his conducting is miles away from the symphonic treatment these works demand.
The Fourth is limp and prettified from the first bar. Barenboim keeps his dynamics centered on mezzo forte and overlooks every opportunity for drama in the first movement. The second movement should be an angry argument between orchestra and piano; here it's a polite conversation. The finale begins at a mincing pace, and when the piano enters, we discover that this tip-toeing is deliberate. Later on both orchestra and soloist find a touch of drama for the first time, but it's too late.
The same comments apply to the Empoeror, a more heroic work that Barenboim makes an attempt to dramatize--the opening to the first movement is full of energy and anticipaiton. But you can always count on Barenboim the conductor to get lost in fussy details and back off just when the music wants passion. Here he is better than usual, however, and the Emperor's first movement comes off as the best thing on the CD. Too bad the slow movement brings out Barenboim's tendency to prettify. The finale begins with strong sonority, but this syncopated music is impossible to both play and condcut, so it's either one or the other here. When Barenboim has to be busy at th keyboard, the orchestra tools along on automatic pilot. In the end, three stars is the best I can muster."
Janis Totham-Davies | Takoma Park MD | 10/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are just wonderful, the right tempo and just beautifully done. I have the set on tape but needed to upgrade to CD before I wore the tapes out. I love Beethoven, this is music I can dance to and make love with, it can suit many moods. I am now after the 1st piano concerto of this set on CD."