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Beethoven: The 5 Piano Concertos
Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski
Beethoven: The 5 Piano Concertos
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #3

Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein bring an attractive regal pomp and broad rhetoric to the Third Concerto, yet these qualities work to the more lyrical Fourth's disadvantage. Gould's well-oiled fingers zip rather mechanica...  more »

      
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Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein bring an attractive regal pomp and broad rhetoric to the Third Concerto, yet these qualities work to the more lyrical Fourth's disadvantage. Gould's well-oiled fingers zip rather mechanically through the outer movements in the first two concertos, and he scrutinizes the Emperor with the inquiring mind of a brilliant crank. Excellent remastered 20-bit sound. --Jed Distler

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CD Reviews

Impressive performance!
phimueller | 06/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Though the sound quality especially of the 2nd piano concerto in B-Flat is likely poor, this recording can be highly recommended for the Beethoven and Gould "fan": In particular in the 4th concerto Mr Gould strikes the wonderful and ever-changing balance between play and elegance that that makes Beethoven that great.Besides it's a real pleasure to listen to the cadenza of the 1st movement, 1st concerto which is elaborated and (of course) performed by Mr Gould."
Please, remember: we are talking about of Mr. Glenn Gould!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 11/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The eccentricity was one of the most remarkable features of Glenn Gould. His honesty as artist and personal convictions permeated every one of his performances. And his Beethoven 's interpretations are always surrounded of a clear intention of dismemberment, he liked to crumble and abrade all kind of mystification signal around the figure and ominous presence of Bonn 's genius. All of us who followed the musical legacy, we can agree or disagree around this aspect. But Gould always got to state his personal convincement, loaded of profound disparity and visible alteration of the tempos; a clear signal of his total irreverence respect the genius and figure of one of the Holy Gods in the musical Pantheon.

Respect the Fifth Concerto, Gould had the occurrence to record with Leopold Stokowski, who, as conductor was not neither a devoted Beethoven 's interpreter nor a consummate interpreter. The result of this weird musical alchemy was possibly the most eccentric and intentionally provocative personal reading. Gould disdains the aristocratic vein and any symbol that represents an idiosyncratic icon. Under this perspective the Emperor is a celebrated work that engages and captives rapidly the most primitive of the listeners, its long cantabile lines allow to retain in the memory the core of the work. But it is time to acknowledge in this piece its unencumbered lyricism and a certain atmosphere of theatrical triviality respect the figure of the Emperor. Perhaps this was a frontal statement against Napoleon his maxim disillusion as emblematic symbol of the new renovator airs after the French Revolution. After all the Emperor has also his little heart. The performing is absolutely free from all standpoint. That can generate serious problems respect the purists who may be accustomed to a major classical approach. You must realize the funny arpeggios that should proclaim epic vigor; but Gould disfigures it and transforms in a very sarcastic bourgeois hymn, with a very clever purpose, to eviscerate the contemplative and illusionist character of this Imperial fairy tale.

The Fourth Concerto is played under the same conception; it is erratic but supported by an original statement. Being the most classical and perhaps the most solid of the Set Gould undermines the heroic spirit and proverbial beauty of the score.

The Third Concert is to my mind one his best achievements. If we have to recognize the lack of visceral ignition of Leon Fleisher or the magisterial and unbeatable approach of Ivan Moravec or Wilhelm Kempff, Gould gets to convince, according his irreverent behavior, the minimum facets of this work.

The Second Concerto is what we might call "a work in progress", whose final result we would appreciate it in his admirable live recording in the Russian tour in 1958, as good will musical Ambassador. This last version is just an echelon blow the unsurpassable version of William Kapell.

And finally the First Concerto, loaded of a energetic and mercurial flair is to my mind one of his two major achievements and shares honors with Second. Gould displays passion, virility and thundering fingering combined of a fabulous musicality. In this sense this First one can rival easily with the superb and towering reading of Casadesus Van Beinum, the lovable version of Kempff Van Kempen, the fierce performance Richter Munch and the epic live version of Barenboim playing with the Berlin Philharmonic on November 12th 1989.
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An historic collection
Nichomachus | 08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If one is looking for a collection of all five of the concerti, this is an excellent selection. Gould's entrance to the 5th is enough for me. His brilliant work on the cadenzas, and the teaming with Bernstein makes this collection an excellent journey through Beethoven's evolution as a composer."