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Beethoven: Piano Concertos & Sonatas Box set

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Aug 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Import Music Services
  • ASIN: B000E0LB8G
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,437 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 1. Allegro con brio14:31£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 2. Largo10:04£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando) 8:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 - 1. Allegro con brio12:13£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 - 2. Adagio 8:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19 - 3. Rondo (Molto allegro) 6:07£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 -"Moonlight" - 1. Adagio sostenuto 5:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 -"Moonlight" - 2. Allegretto 2:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 -"Moonlight" - 3. Presto 7:17£0.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 - 1. Allegro con brio15:56£1.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 - 2. Largo 9:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 - 3. Rondo (Allegro) 8:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13 -"Pathétique" - 1. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio 7:47£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13 -"Pathétique" - 2. Adagio cantabile 5:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor, Op.13 -"Pathétique" - 3. Rondo (Allegro) 4:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op.31 No.2 -"Tempest" - 1. Largo - Allegro 7:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op.31 No.2 -"Tempest" - 2. Adagio 6:51£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op.31 No.2 -"Tempest" - 3. Allegretto 6:06£0.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 3:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 1. Allegro moderato18:25£2.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 2. Andante con moto 4:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 3. Rondo (Vivace)10:00£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -"Emperor" - 1. Allegro19:41£2.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -"Emperor" - 2. Adagio un poco mosso 7:38£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 -"Emperor" - 3. Rondo (Allegro)10:11£1.49  Buy MP3 

Product Description

DEC 4757297; DECCA - Inghilterra; Classica da camera Piano

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By helendb on 6 Oct 2010
Format: MP3 Download
I had never heard of Steven Lubin and purchased this set of recordings mainly because of Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music. In addition to the five concerti, there are also recordings of several piano sonatas. The "period piano" was initially a shock to the ears but having said that, this is now the set that I play as a matter of choice. Mr. Lubin is a very fine pianist and his artistry and musicianship shines through every performance, both in the concerti and the piano sonatas. I can recommend this set but for listeners who are used to hearing Beethoven played on a 9 foot ten inch Steinway, these performances will initially come as a shock. My other set is of Andras Schiff with Bernard Haitink as conductor. This is also a fine set with one proviso; the choice of cadenza in the first movement of the first concerto, which is nearly five minutes long and totally out of context to the remainder of the movement.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Nov 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Easily a fabulous set of recordings of the marvellous Beethoven Piano Concertos are here in this three disc set. I have to say that the entire release is excellent.
The Beethoven Piano Concertos are in very good hands here with Steven Lubin, the Academy of Ancient music and Christopher Hogwood.

Disc one begins with Piano Concerto No 1 which was actually composed after Piano Concerto 2. It is a more ambitious piece. It is a grander piece where Beethoven has added Drums, Clarinets and Trumpets. This provides a rhythmic march like opening theme that gives way to a slow and moving communication between Clarinet and Piano in the second movement. The final movement brings us back in reflective style to the first moment's rhythmic magnificence.
Also on disc one is Piano Concerto No2 with robust themes that has served its popularity. On both Concertos Steven Lubin plays wonderfully on a replica of a fortepiano made in Vienna in 1795 and is nearly identical to the one that Beethoven used around the time of the composition. This adds to the authentic element of this recording in an attempt to get as close as possible to the sound ideas Beethoven had at the time of the Concertos origin. Also Beethoven did not add the cadenza for the 1st movement until many years after composing the Concerto, and this fortepiano does not have the range for that Cadenza. Lubin squares things by adding his own version of the Cadenza to cover the range of the instrument and the later addition by Beethoven.
Finally on Disc one is the inclusion of Piano Sonata in C Sharp op 27 no 2 moonlight. Composed around the time of Piano Concerto No3 Lubin plays the same fortepiano as before.

Disc two has Concerto No3 this time Lubin uses a replica of a Johann Fritz fortepiano.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Buy it Now 26 April 2006
By Virginia Opera Fan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Universal deserves our thanks for making these seminal performances available once again, at mid-price and with the addition of three top drawer sonatas to boot. I own the fortepiano/period instrument cycles of Levin/Gardiner, Lubin/Hogwood, Newman/Simon and Tan/Norrington. The Lubin and Levin cycles are my favorites and I can't really decide which is better. Both are well played and conducted. Both also use different fortepianos to match the increasing demands Beethoven placed upon the instrument as the mechanical and range capabilities improved and his style matured. The orchestras are both colorful and handle their parts with aplomb - no sawing or scraping strings or squawking woodwinds here. The instruments reveal all sorts of wonderful details that tend to be swamped by modern strings.

I would have preferred the performers tackle the Choral Fantasy and the Triple Concerto as well when these were recorded, but the sonatas make a nice bonus.

With Levin/Gardiner increasing hard to find and commanding high prices on the used market, my advice is to snap this one up while its generally available. You won't be disappointed.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Dynamic 22 July 2008
By David Saemann - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is one of my favorite sets of the Beethoven Concertos, on any types of instruments. It is beautifully recorded. Lubin uses three different fortepianos to reflect the differing instruments from the periods when the concertos were premiered. He even uses his own cadenza in No. 1, because the one Beethoven supplied was from years later, and Lubin deemed it inappropriate for the pianoforte of the concerto's time. All of the fortepianos have interesting sounds, more so than the one instrument Melvyn Tan used on his set. The fortepiano on the first two concertos has a very light, sort of twangy sonority, but it still can create real drama and is allowed by the composer to cut through his orchestration. In the entire set, much of the keyboard expression that a modern instrument would accomplish through power and a saturated tone instead is accomplished with a sensitivity to articulation and the play of light and shade. There is no shortage of drama anywhere in these performances. Hogwood's accompaniments are among the best I've ever heard, easily in the same league as Bernard Haitink's for Perahia and George Szell's for Fleisher. I also feel that the soloists, especially the first horn, show more individuality than do Norrington's London Classical Players. The sonatas are a welcome addition, if not quite at the adrenaline level of the conceros, with the exception of The Tempest. This set is a vital addition to anyone's collection of Beethoven Concertos.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Beethoven's Choice ... 15 Mar 2013
By Giordano Bruno - Published on
Format: Audio CD
... of keyboards was obviously limited to what the instrument makers of his era were offering, specifically what we today call fortepianos. Would Beethoven have chosen a modern concert grand piano if someone had built one for him? I suspect he would have, with his well-known taste for furor and clamor. But that question is moot. It's a fundamental notion of "historically informed performance practice" that a composer of Beethoven's genius would have crafted his music to exploit the distinctive qualities of any instrument for which he was composing, and that therefore the composer's sensibilities can best be expressed on such an original instrument. Keyboardist Steven Lubin carries that principal farther than most, using three different fortepianos to perform the five concertos and three sonatas on these recordings, replicas of Viennes instruments built by Anton Walter, Johan Fritz, and Conrad Graf. In fact, the fortepiano was evolving rapidly during Beethoven's lifetime; the first instrument, built in 1795, has a smaller keyboard and different pedals from the last, built just over a decade later.

Anyone can see that the fortepiano is much smaller than the modern Bösendorfer. Two men can easily pick up and carry almost any fortepiano. It's far lighter also, since the frame is wood, whereas the modern piano has massive metal frame. That frame is required to handle the much greater steel string tension of the modern instrument. The strings of a fortepiano were similar to those of a harpsichord, thinner, less taut, often made of two metals, brass for the higher register, iron for the lower. Fortepianos of Beethoven's times had a range of five to six octave, whereas the modern concert grand usually sports seven-plus octaves, with treble strings crossing bass strings at an angle. The fortepiano had a simple single-action escapement, with a significantly shorter "fall" for its leather hammers, while the modern piano has a double-action escapement. The "sostenuto" pedal of the modern piano had not yet been invented. Indeed, many fortepianos had only a knee-pedal that shifted the action from double to single strings.

Anyone can hear that the fortepiano was not as loud as the modern piano. Its sweet softness makes it delightful to hear in a chamber but "challenging" to hear in a vast concert hall. Remember, however, that when you enter the acoustic space of a CD, volume is controllable; if you crave thunder in your Beethoven, just twist the volume knob. Far more significant for musical interpretation are the differences in "touch" and "decay" between the fortepiano and the modern. Because of its simpler action, the touch of the fortepiano, as everybody acknowledges, is quicker and subtler, and capable of exquisitely delicate pianissimos. Because of the much faster decay and the nature of the strings, sforzando accents are more prominent on the fortepiano than on the modern, differing in timbre as well as in volume. Since the decay is rapid, the player can let the notes he touches fade without constant damping, which allows a shimmering overlap/interpenetration of successive chords. Paradoxically therefore, a player can pound out furious passages on a fortepiano with perhaps more expressive contrast than on a modern. Steven Lubin exploits the Sturm und Drang of the fortepiano very effectively on the two tempestuous sonatas - #8 and #17 - included on CD2.

Because of the lighter, never-crossed strings and its overall lighter construction, the fortepiano produces a clearer pitch with each note, having far less sympathetic resonance. If you enjoy that roiling resonance of the modern grand, you'll probably spurn the clarity and transparency of the fortepiano. The modern piano is constructed to maintain the maximum uniformity of timbre from its lowest octave to its highest. That uniformity was either unattainable or undesired by fortepiano builders. There are audible differences between the timbres of the upper and lower registers of all three fortepianos used for this recording, and such variations of timbres can be exploited affectively. It seems self-evident that Beethoven would have heard such possibilities and incorporated them in his music.

There's also the vexing issue of temperament. A fortepiano COULD be tuned to modern equal-temperament, but it wouldn't stay that way long. In fact, fortepianos require frequent tuning, especially if they're transported. That can be considered an advantage, sinec most serious fortepianists tune their instruments to a temperament closer to what was normal in Beethoven's era, a modified 6th-comma meantone, making the consonances sweeter and the dissonances sourer. The affective characteristics of different keys and tunings were still prominent in the music of the 18th Century ... and Beethoven was an 18th C composer! If I were to write a thesis instead of a brief review, I might title it "Beethoven Was A Humanist, Not A Romantic." And that would open a barrel of nightcrawlers, wouldn't it?

Steven Lubin plays the delicate passages of the Fifth Concerto with breath-taking poignancy. It's in those passages where the special virtues of the fortepiano are most obvious. But, as I said before, he also thunders bravely on the two sonatas and on the deliberately bumptious-roisterous passages that punctuate all of Beethoven's concertos. To my ears, the choice of the fortepiano over the modern is more effective on the Fourth and Fifth Concertos than on the earlier works. I would argue that Beethoven had come to understand the full expressive capabilities of his instrument in his later works, ironically at the time when his hearing began to fail.

Lubin dominates these performances in interpretation. Conductor Christopher Hogwood is innately a conservative interpreter - that's not a flaw in performance of Beethoven! - and subordinates his orchestra to Lubin's fortepiano assiduously. But don't try to listen to these CDs in a room full of ambient noise! The dynamics range, as they should, from ineffable pianissimo to blustery forte. Hogwood's "authentic-instrument" orchestra, The Academy of Ancient Music, is impeccable in tuning and ensemble. It's a pleasure to hear the distinctly individual timbres of the inner instruments and lower voices, rather than the rumbling tumult of the larger modern orchestra, especially the muddy muddle that emerge from most home sound systems.

Okay, have I sold this set yet? I don't get a rebate or commission, do I? Note that the price is right. Consider that these concertos, especially the Fourth and Fifth, are among the greatest compositions of musical history, of which no single performance can be ultimate and definitive. Even if you eventually disagree with me about the merits of original instrument performances, you can't fail to enjoy Lubin's delicacy and elegance, or Hogwood's restraint.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very good recording and performance 29 Sep 2013
By IU - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The only problem I find is that the fortepiano sounds a bit weak, but you get used to it quickly.
Other than that this is an excellent album. The orchestra's performance is better than the other 2 recordings of these concertos that I have. Since the forterpiano's sustain is shorter than a piano, it sounds clearer than a piano, and those concertos parts where the keyboard is hit with many keys sound much clearer than in a piano.

Also since the fortepiano's sound is weaker, it gives more understanding to why Beethoven used the piano as it did - to squeeze out of it all he could get until the last drops..

All in all the cocertos in this recording sound beautiful, more powerful, and most important, most comprehendible. You can better grasp the concertos with this recording, and later, enjoy more the other recordings of these concertos you have.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Top HIP Pick 30 Oct 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I can't rate this set of Beethoven Piano Concertos against other period instrument efforts, but I can testify that after hearing these performances by Steven Lubin and The Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood, I'm not sure I have much inclination to attempt such a comparison. The performances long ago rocketed to the top of my favorites list, joining such vintage modern sets as Szell/Fleisher and Klemper/Barenboim. (I own the concerto cycle in its earlier incarnation on L'Oiseau-lyre and so don't have the sonatas to comment on.) At least one other reviewer has complained about the wimpy sound of the fortepiano versus the orchestra, and while I wouldn't deny that such disparity doesn't perhaps exist at times, I'm happy to accept it as another way these works can sound -- having the keyboard be a scaled-down collaborator with the orchestra doesn't sound all that bad to my untrained ear, as does the sound of period instruments itself. If you want old school, there are certainly several other sets you can reach for. If you hanker for Historically Informed Performances of these works, you can't get much better than this set.
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