"A version of the Triple Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma as the Solo Cellist would be irresistible - and it is! This live recording from the Berlin Philharmonie is really stunning: the three soloists seem to talk, support and challenge each other through the 35-minute piece with the support of the "Beethoven Orchestra". Yo-Yo Ma is the youngest out of the three soloists, but he is more than able to get up to the job of being the leader, as the cellist is in this concerto(Barenboim played the Triple Concerto many times in the late 60's and early 70's with Pinchas Zukerman and Jacqueline du Pre - I would love to listen to a recording, if such a thing exists, of a live concert). It is in the last movement that the soloists really communicate with each other, and it is really, really great stuff. The sound quality, however, very opaque. The EMI engineers haven't done a job that matches the DG or Sony engineers in the same hall (which is notoriously difficult to record in, for some unknown reason). But ultimately it is the performance that matters, and hearing these artists make the listener forget the sonic limitations, because the joy of music-making is so evident in this performance. I would recommend this version as possibly the best on disc."
Just what you'd expect from great artists.
Santa Fe Listener | 12/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though unpopular compared to Beethoven's symphonies, String Quartets, and Piano Sonatas, the Triple concerto and the Choral Fantasy are good representations of Beethoven's noble and fiery spirit. As I found out in their Brahms double concerto collaboration, It'd be hard to find a bad recording with great performers such as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Daniel Barenboim playing. These are three wonderful musicians who I hope will be recording more stuff together in the future."
A vigorous Triple Concerto knocking at the door of the gre
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 06/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1969, when Richter, Oistrakh, and Rostropovich made their only commercial recording together, it was of Beethoven's Triple Cncerto, and the results became legendary for power, eloquence, and drama. As with Carlos Kleiber's Bethoven Fifth, it became hard to hear new recoridngs without keeping this great one in the back of your mind. Since Barenboim is conducting the same Berlin Phil. on the same EMI label, the comparison is inevitable.
Thirty some years on, the orchestra doesn't have the richness and depth of Karajan's BPO, but it still sounds very good, and Barenboim does a credible job of conducitng from the keyboard. The three soloists are also top-notch in eery movement. Yo-Yo Ma prefers a slender, elegant tone in this work compared to the tremendous Rostropovich, and Perlman doesn't attack with the total authority of Oistrakh. Barneboim, however, has a heroic view of the piano part, as did Richter, and he's the engine that keeps this performance going.
Despite a cool opening, and a disappointing entrance by Ma, who doesn't sail into the main theme with enough passion, the performance builds as it goes along. By the middle of the first movement we get real thrills--ideally, the three soloists should be pushing each other out of the way to get our attention. Here they don't quite, but Barenboim keeps up the intensity nicely.
Some listeners may see the Triple Concerto in unheroic terms, in which case there are readings led by Fricsay on DG and the Argerich-Capucon-Maisky live performance on EMI. Barenboim's(also live) is larger in scale, although I regret that the slow movement isn't quite ardent enough. Because the cello introduces all three movements, Ma's low-key playing sets the tone. He starts the finale off on tip-toe, but once again Barenboim manages to bring us back into Beethoven's world. All in all, this new performance knocks on the door of the great one.
The filler is the Choral Fantasy, which Barenboim recorded as a young man with the aging Otto Klmeperer. His new version is unique, so far as I know, in being conducted from the keyboard. As a pianist, Barenboim had a moe exuberant style in the past, but he's a bit more reserved here. The reading overall doesn't touch the galvanic excitement of Serkin/Bernstein on Sony, but with gorgeous orchestral playing, Barenboim's confidence as pianist, and an excellent chorus for the joyful ending, this Choral Fantasy ranks just a notch below the Triple Concerto."
Prescott Cunningham Moore | 03/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although the Triple Concerto is not one of Beethoven's most inspired compositions, it is indeed thrilling when played well. Perlman, Ma, and Berenboim certainly give a convincing performance of this work. They collaborate well together, and the energy they create in this piece is electrifying. The Berlin Philharmonic also gives a wonderful accompaniment to the three soloists. This is indeed one of the best Triple Concertos. The companion piece, the all too underappreciated Choral Fantasy, is also wonderfully executed by Barenboim, the philharmonic, and the chorus. I highly recommend this CD."