Lovely unique piano playing
Mr JB | Karlskrona Sweden | 10/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Griegs piano concerto is one of the most famous of its kind today. In fact, Griegs piano- and vocalmusic probably is the best way to get to know the scandinavian sentiment as expressed in romantic music. This concerto also is a great introduction to any serious pianist. And let's just start by saying that this recording won't let you down. Here we have a very fine recording of the worldknown concerto, but not in its most wellknow way - this is a world premiere recording of the very first version of the concerto (Grieg wrote seven versions of the concerto before he died). This means that if you've just heard the concerto for the first time, and now want to buy it - you may not recognize this recording as exactly the same as the version you've heard before. On the other hand, that may not be a problem if you're not especially keen on pianoconcertos as it's not the melody played by the piano that has been mostly changed, it's the orchestration, heard most clearly in this versions heavier brass and some special changes in the second movement. Still, the result is not at all very far from the more famous, later, version.The soloist Derwinger makes an excellent job, sounding just as floatingly and romantic, yet rythmically secure, as one might wish. The same has to be said about the SON under Hirokami. The sound has been beautifully caught by the BIS-engineers. The record also includes some fairly unknown solo pianopieces from Griegs youth. These shows some early signs of the special moods, the romantic melodic richness and dance-rhytms that was later to become Griegs sign-mark. Maybe not as individual as his later works, yet very beautiful and effective. I actually find these pieces just as important a reason for buying this record, as the pianoconcerto is, since they're so simple and beautiful.The symphonic-ouverture 'In autumn' is included as a excellently wellplayed filler. So, this record has something for both the newcomer (since it doesn't differ very much from the most common version, and being excellently performed) to this pianoconcerto as the studied professional. For the newcomer it contains some lovely pianomusic, beautifully played. For the piano-Pro and the Grieg-enthusiast it's also very interesting by being 'original'. Great!"
Familiar and unfamiliar Grieg
klavierspiel | TX, USA | 03/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording certainly has the virtue of novelty, even though the main piece on it is one of Grieg's most familiar works, the Piano Concerto in A minor. However, the concerto played by Love Derwinger with the Norrkoping Symphony is not the standard version but Grieg's original composition of 1868 (he revised it several times, the last only a few weeks before his death in 1907). Most of the differences are details in the orchestration, and a few stand out even to the untutored ear--the lyrical second theme in the first movement being given to a solo trumpet is perhaps the most striking example, and on the evidence of this recording Grieg was probably wise to have toned this particular bit of scoring down. On the other hand, the solo cello and oboe that lend such poignancy to the opening tutti of the second movement apparently were not added until a subsquent revision, and the end of the massive first-movement cadenza also seems rather plain and unspectacular. Hearing these small differences is certainly interesting, and, together with the inclusion of two dozen short piano pieces from Grieg's earliest compositional period (age fifteen), justifies listening to this recording. Both the Larvikspolka and the Smaastykker (Small pieces) are charming enough, being basically good salon music with occasional flavorings of Schumann and Beethoven, two composers who would continue to exert a strong influence on the mature Grieg.Love Derwinger, the soloist, has a considerable international career, but his rendition of the Concerto is a bit staid and pedantic to these listener's ears. Under Junichi Hirokami's somewhat pedestrian direction the Concerto does not really spring to life. This performance certainly does nothing to displace many superior recordings of the standard version (Fleisher, Perahia and Cliburn among them). Derwinger seems altogether more comfortable tossing off the short pieces and these have a considerable charm. There are extended and interesting notes about all of the music in what is a deluxe recording package. This likely won't become anyone's top Grieg Concerto choice, but is a recording certainly worth investigating."