3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Piano Concerto 24, 30 Nov 2008
Over the past month or so I have been listening and comparing every performance of #24 I could put my hands on.
The recordings have included Fischer, Bilsson, Gould (Stockholm performance), Solomon, Perahia, Curzon, Serkin and Buchbinder.
Fischer has tremendous drive . He has a great feel for the pulse of the piece - his rhythmic sense is better than everyone else on the list. He also somehow lays bear the architecture and structure of the concerto like no one else. You can sense his enthusiasm for the music, and that's infectious. His interpretation is energetic and classical.
Gould has some great moments - from time to time that special glowing Gould piano tone comes through.
But two recordings tower above all the rest. Bilsson and Gardiner. And Curzon and Kubelik.
These two performances are poetry. Kubelik makes the orchestra sound more beautiful than anyone else in this music that I know. And Curzon finds more subtle piano tones, and more sadness and tragedy - even in the final variations movement - than any other pianist.
Their recorded sound is excellent -- the piano is not placed too far forward of the orchetsra like in so many other concerto recordings. This makes the piano's impact less immediate than others -- Curzon is less in your face, and I know that this made me initially dismiss the record as dull. But over repeated listenings Curzon's art reveals itself for what it is -- genius.
You might accuse Curzon and Kubelik of over romanticising the piece. But Bilsson and Gardener find just as much tragedy without ever being sentimental. There are some incredible magic moments in this performance - for example, the part in the Variations movement when the orchestra turns into a wind band is magical. And Bilsson's style is more Gouldian than Gould himself - the actual Gould recording doesn't have as much Gouldian swing, as much Gouldian piano tone, as much Gouldian trixyness, as much of that special Gouldian intensity of communication that Bilsson has.