Search - Edvard Grieg, Robert Schumann, Colin Davis :: Schumann: Piano Concerto Op. 54; Grieg: Piano Concerto Op. 16

Schumann: Piano Concerto Op. 54; Grieg: Piano Concerto Op. 16
Edvard Grieg, Robert Schumann, Colin Davis
Schumann: Piano Concerto Op. 54; Grieg: Piano Concerto Op. 16
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1

Murray Perahia's account of the Grieg Concerto is utterly absorbing. The playing is brilliant, but the pianist's approach--more Chopinesque than Lisztian--keeps that brilliance at the service of larger expressive goals. Th...  more »

     
   
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Murray Perahia's account of the Grieg Concerto is utterly absorbing. The playing is brilliant, but the pianist's approach--more Chopinesque than Lisztian--keeps that brilliance at the service of larger expressive goals. The result is a performance aglow with understated intensity, one in which the prevalent feeling is often melancholy, at times even bleak. Sir Colin Davis draws a wonderfully refined accompaniment from the Bavarian orchestra in this live reading of the score. The recording, from Munich's Philharmonic Hall, is excellent and effectively captures the beautiful tone Perahia coaxes from his piano. --Ted Libbey

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CD Reviews

The Best
Stelios Xenakis | Washington, DC | 03/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When recommending distinguished performances of a work, I do not often label a single performance as "the best" in the catalog. In this case, however, Perahia plays this concerto with such natural flow and complete understanding that he rises head and shoulders above any competition. He is never too grounded in his tempi and his interpretation often takes on a sublime, improvisational feel. What is most outstanding, however, is Perahia's ability to balance thundering virtuosity with an introspective style, and the transitions between these two methods of playing are completely seamless. The orchestral contributions are also wonderful, utterly in tune with Perahia's approach. The balance is exceptional, especially for a live performance, but the bass is a little muddied. This opaqueness might stem from the concert hall acoustics, but I wonder if the engineers could not have made an effort to clean it up a little. Whatever quibbles I have, however, are few and unimportant. The reading of the Schumann concerto is not the best in the catalog, and I prefer Perahia's more recent account to the one that appears hear. The Grieg, as I stated before, is the greatest recorded performance available."
Masterful Renditions
D. Rausch | United States | 05/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I gotta say, I've heard a lot of people put down Perahia for lack of emotional aesthetics. Coupled with the fact that I cannot STAND classical music when devoid of soul, I had somewhat low expectations for this recording (hence also my introduction to Perahia). It's a good thing I'm open-minded enough to never pre-judge. The Grieg is virtually flawless (there's a few timing issues with the orchestra). The a minor chords come crashing down, one after another, really making you feel in the midst of an epic battle. I've played this concerto, and while I admit that it's hard to play 8 notes (2 big chords) at a time without some kind of purpose, as I said, my expectations were guarded for this specific version. Granted, the music is almost TOO masterfully controlled, but out of that comes devoutly meticulous placement, and since timing is everything, it works to MP's advantage. I do get a biting emotion out of this. Horowitz, Van Cliburn, etc. etc., all play it differently, but don't dismiss this cd as cold calculated rubbish. Go to the second movement of the Grieg (track 5) and become engulfed by the lyrical beauty - and what touch he has! Those deceptive cadences are SO perfectly planned (if not drawn out just a bit), even though you know what's coming, you still react as if surprised. Predictablity only goes as far as the printed score.
The Grieg is a perfect template for a practicing musician to reference from. It doesn't infuse any eccentric personality traits, but it is a great teaching tool. I'm not as familiar with the Schumann, so it's not my place to critique, other than saying I deduce that my reaction, which is the same as my Grieg commentary, is probably correct. My homage goes to this pianist who doesn't necessarily make the music sound highly unique, so much as he makes it sound PERFECT. And that's for better or worse."
Well worth your time
Richard A. Leroux | Attleboro, MA United States | 07/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Murray Perahia once admitted to a delight in the inspirational heat-of-the-moment of a live performance. And even though there is no applause at the end of either of these performances (there is, in fact, no noise of any kind from the audience during these recordings) we are told that they are indeed "live." Personally, I feel if your going to go through the trouble of capturing the experience of a live performance why edit out the applause? But that's just my opinion.Anyway, Perahia (one of my two or three favorite pianists) plays both of these concertos beautifully. As always there is a strong sense of poetry--almost songfulness-in his playing. This does not imply, however, that there is a lack of power or bravura in his playing. Of the two performances, the Grieg is best. The Schumann is not by any means bad, but there are better versions of the piece. Sir Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra provide Perahia with excellent support. The sound is good, though I thought it was slightly opaque-orchestral textures are not as clear as they should be. But again this is a "live" recording.In these works, Stephen Kovacevich (also with Sir Colin Davis) is still unsurpassed. Nonetheless, Murray Perahia's versions of these concertos are among the finest in the catalogue."