Buy It for the Beethoven
M. Donahue | Elk Grove, CA USA | 07/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Beethoven and Brahms concerti and worth twice the price, the P.T. concerto is expendable, being a childish toy (nonetheless good in its own way) in comparison. I have enjoyed this recording of Beethoven (and Brahms) for about 20 years now, since the neanderthalish days of vinyl inscribing, and yet I still find beautiful little phrases in the Beethoven that pop out as never having been noticed before. Grumiaux was in a poetic mode when he recorded this with Colin Davis and the best word for his delivery is lyrical. Davis brings out a powerful force from the orchestra and every single note is perfectly on key (a rarity). This is music for people who really listen to every note, every feeling. The orchestra all by itself is truly stunning; the violin playing of Aurthur G. is charming and enticing and depending on your mood, way beyond sublime. And way beyond many other words too !A good friend of mine used to say how he was absolutely convinced that Beethoven intentionally put little surprises in his music, and he said Ludwig could never stay too serious for too long. He suggested that Beethoven contrived quick mood changes and sudden outbursts of energy to keep those upscale audiences of the 1800s in Vienna, who tended to be smug, self-satisfied, and sometimes drowsy, on the edge, that is, attentive. I find many such surprises in the Beethoven work, and Davis and Grumiaux have played with every nuance and brief excursion into and out of melodrama and they also brought out many other miniscule timing changes that many recordings have apparently missed. Arthur Grumiaux was an artist like few others in the 20th century, and many of his recordings are full of beauty and strengths, but this delivery of the Beethoven Concerto is a lyrical masterpiece. I am still spellbound going into my third decade of hearing this recording. And the Brahms, ah the Brahms, well, thats a different story. It is just as good. And there's a bonus ! See if you can hear the truck driving by (no doubt just outside the recording hall) during the first movement, its a momentary giggle and does not detract from the whole. Otherwise, another pure-gold Grumiaux delivery. Oh, if only I had seen Mr. G. play a live performance before he departed this earth ! Alas, my friends, alas !"
Not as impressive as his Mozart...
A Classical Fan | New York, NY USA | 01/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though I am sort of a fan of Grumiaux, loving his Bach's sonatas & partitas and Mozart's concertos, this disc didn't impress me. Grumiaux's sheer virtuosity is not there or sometimes working against the music. I simply think he is not a good match for Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Those works needs stability, balance, and relatively sticky lyricism. Comparing to Oistrakh's Brahms and Tchaikovsky, Grumiaux sounds weak. Heifetz is different even though he also lacks in lyricism, because his Brahms and Tchaikovsky have an amazing force and stability. If you are loooking for concerto done by Grumiaux, try his Mozart, Vieuxtemps and Sant-Saens. Or if you are looking for those major concertos, try Oistrakh, Heifetz, Kyung-Wha Chung, or sometimes Perlman."
Brilliant Tchaikovsky Concerto
M. Donahue | 11/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am reviewing this two-disc set only for the Tchaikovsky concerto. I had heard Grumiaux's solo Bach, but never any recordings of him playing major concerti. A friend of mine had this disc and just for interest I flipped over to the 3rd movement of the Tchaikovsky. I sat there stunned. Grumiaux's virtuosity and tone were magnificent, and he tossed of this very, very difficult movement with seeming ease. This set will soon be in my collection, and you should buy it too, because you can't beat playing this great on two cds for 16 dollars with a stick."