Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Edvard Grieg, Robert Schumann, Christoph von Dohnányi|
Grieg, Schumann: Piano Concertos
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Arrau not his best
jsa | San Diego, CA United States | 03/04/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"With a few exceptions, Claudio Arrau's concerto recordings are not among his best work; and these recordings, especially of the Grieg concerto, demonstrate why. Arrau often elevated the music he played by finding or even infusing meaning into it, an approach that yielded profound readings of programmatic works such as Albeniz' Iberia, the Debussy Preludes, & Liszt Transcendental Etudes. His ultra-serious approach, however, does not work well with the Grieg concerto which, if played in a relatively straightforward way, is profoundly beautiful by itself. If only the Maestro had trusted Grieg a little bit more & let him speak for himself. The result is often ponderous & sectionalized where the music should flow naturally.
The Schumann concerto fares better, yet by magnifying the poetic element in the score the music becomes gentler than it should be. Perhaps one may attribute this to the more relaxed (or less inspiring) atmosphere of the recording studio, for in the same year this Philips disc was made (1963) Arrau played an electrifying Schumann concerto with the London Philharmonic in front of a live audience that was filmed for TV & is now available on a BBC dvd. What a difference! There is also an outstanding Arrau recording of the Schumann concerto with the NY Philharmonic dating from 1951 available on Aura (cd 252) in excellent mono sound. This disc also captures the pianist in front of an audience where he played in a much more spontaneous way. All of the Arrau poetry is there, but the pace of the music is much tighter, the orchestra under Victor De Sabata provides better support & the virtuoso aspects of the score are played with incredible authority, variety & drive. It's a thrilling performance from the same classic period that produced Arrau's great Liszt concerto recordings: the monumental studio version of the First concerto with Ormandy, laid down in one take; & the equally monumental A flat major concerto recorded live with the NY Philharmonic under Guido Cantelli.
One final note: both the Grieg & Schumann concertos differ little from the mono versions Arrau made a few years before with Alceo Galliera; however, the Phillips stereo recording captures Arrau's ravishing tone in a way that few others do."