Great Pianists: Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890 - 1963) plays Piano Concertos by Beethoven. This CD contains the following recordings: 1. Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37. With the Philharmonia Orchestra, dir. Sir Malcolm Sargent. Recorded on 20th December 1950 at No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London. Originally released by HMV on four 78 rpm shellacs (cat. C4160-63) and on tape. This restoration was made from the tape issue. 2. Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor". With the London Philharmonic Orchestra, dir. George Szell. Recorded on 21st October 1938 in Kingsway Hall, London. Originally released on five 78 rmp shellacs by HMV (cat. C3043-47). This restoration was made from American Victor pressings. Audio Restoration Producer: Ward Marston. CD issued by Naxos Historical as volume 8 of Moiseiwitsch's collected recordings in 2004 (8.110776). Total playing time: 71'37".
Benno Moiseiwitsch must have been one of the most widely-travelled performers of all time, spending most of his life touring the world with a heavy concert schedule. Maybe that is the reason why HMV seem to have taken relatively little trouble over some of his recordings; the December 1950 tape of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 sounds to me something like a live performance, with coughs from members of the orchestra and, at one point, someone whistling along with the melody! In his notes, Jonathan Summers is also at pains to explain why contemporary critics accused Moiseiwitch of playing a series of wrong notes during the cadenza by Reinecke - it seems that Moiseiwitsch's technique could occasionally lead to impurities when playing octaves. Having said all that, however, I must concede that this is nevertheless a thoroughly charming PC 3, the opening movement taken more slowly than any others from the period which I have heard, which does the music no end of good. And Ward Marston's restoration from the tape issue is truly excellent, perhaps that is why it is possible to hear all the background noises! - The 1938 recording of the "Emperor" under George Szell's direction is not quite able to keep up with the quality of the later recording, but is still eminently enjoyable, despite the criticisms levelled at Szell in the notes. Moiseiwitsch cannot quite overthrow my favourite Beethoven PC recordings from their pedestal (I am thinking of Artur Schnabel, in particular, and for the "Emperor" also Gieseking), but this lovely disc certainly gives a fine impression of Moiseiwitsch's artistry in Beethoven.Read more ›