Great Beethoven 4th and Fine 5th Concerto from Zacharias
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 12/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a wonderful surprise! Christian Zacharias' brilliant performance of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto is among the best I've heard in a long time. His performance of the great 5th "Emperor" Concerto is fine too, though not nearly as memorable as those from the likes of Perahia and Schiff. In both works, Zacharias comes across as a younger version of Wilhelm Kempff, especially in his phrasing, which tends to be more lyrical than overly dramatic. He is well served by Hans Vonk conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle in excellent performances of Beethoven's orchestral scores. EMI's sound quality is quite superb for a 1980's vintage digital recording. Although this isn't my primary recommendation for either Beethoven piano concerto, I certainly won't argue that it is a bargain to acquire. Serious fans of Beethoven's piano concerti won't be disappointed with this recording."
4th darker than most
Musicus | Oslo, Norway | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally I got a lot recordings of these works and am able to compare. I think these performances stand the competition. You can argue that I lavish my stars here, but that is due to the star inflation on Amazon and my opinion that some differences between the Zacharias/Vonk and for example Perahia/Haitink not necessarily make the latter much better. Zacharias/Vonk give us a more expressive 4th and a somehow strict 5th.
There is more darkness, more shades in the 4th than in most other performances. The 5th gives all energy I wish from it, but you can argue that the adagio un poco mosso is troppo mosso. If this is your first Emperor, you will probably enjoy that, less sugar. Summa summarum: understated emotions in the adagio and happy, triumph in the first and third movements.
Zacharias' light touch is something he shares with say Fleisher and Perahia. Some would prefere a more dominating piano voice, for example by Arrau.
All these differnces are matters of taste, not of excellency."
Great recording at a great value
John White | Texas | 12/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is a bargain! ... Piano Concerto no. 4 is the winner on this disc. I adore Beethoven's Violin Concerto (performed by Perlman), but this piano concerto no. 4 is a mighty contender. Both have heroic, yet peaceful moods. The andante con moto is surprisingly eerie, however. Liszt would approve!Concerto no. 5 is great as well, almost as good as no. 4. It's the lighter brother to the darker 4th. The "Emperor" is especially grand. Not explosive like the Fifth Symphony, but still triumphant. Cheerful.The recording sounds great. The entire spectrum comes through richly and clearly. The pianist has a spritely dance-like touch. Reminds me of Wilhelm Kempff's Beethoven sonatas. (Haven't compared this with his recording of these concertos, though.)"