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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb production, 4 Nov 2004
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy (Audio CD)
The release of this recording inspired me to revisit an earlier review of the Triple Concerto with Daniel Barenboim, Itzak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma as soloists - a recording which I still prefer (please check my review). To put the music in context, while most listeners will be most familiar with Beethoven's symphonies, he left a vast range of work which explores human emotion and the human condition. His Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano was written in 1804, after his deafness had plunged him into the depths of depression and at a time when he had begun to rediscover both his confidence and his desire to express himself. It is a work which will tug at your emotions on many levels. A gentler piece of music than the symphonies, it has no less depth and power. The balance and contrast of the three solo instruments demands more concentrated listening than the symphonies, which, once you are familiar with them, you can often allow to wash over you as background music while you read or write or relax. The Triple Concerto is at its most rewarding when you shut your eyes and listen to the performance.
This new recording with Aimard, Zehetmair, and Hagen is joyful and a joy to hear. They present the menu of emotions with authority and no little style. The contribution by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is a delight. Orchestra and soloists offer the piece with a passion and an understanding which is never sterile or academic. The sound balance is excellent. Were it not for my preference for the earlier recording, I would rate this as the best I have heard. But, of course, that is a matter of personal taste, and I could hardly claim to be an expert.
The Choral Fantasia (written in 1805) offered on this disc is beautifully executed and, while it does not equate to the power and potency of the Choral Symphony, it is, yet again, an affirmation of the human spirit. I make no apologies for repeating my words from the earlier review - a wonderful production which has to be listened to in peace and comfort ... preferably with a small tumbler of Talisker or some other malt whisky to hand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Passion and Glory", 7 Aug 2012
This review is from: Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy (Audio CD)
Being an avid Beethoven fanatic, since I first heard the op.80 Choral Fantasia many years ago it has become not only my favourite Beethoven work but my favourite piece of music of all time, in any genre. For me the piece contains a bit of everything that was Beethoven: an ominous and tense piano intoduction, superb "conversations" between the piano and orchestra throughout, highly imaginative variation of a simple theme, a midway outburst of intensity that makes the heart race and a true Beethovian finale to cap it all off! Every time I listen to it I have a big smile on my face afterwards, no matter what else is going on in my life.

I have explored many recordings of this work and have to say that this is by far the best performance I have heard. The recording is of very good quality despite being able to hear a few background sounds from the performers, and the performances are exceptional, especially the piano and voice parts.

The other major work on this disc, the Triple Concerto, is another of Beethoven's greats and again the performances are flawless.
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6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clean, brilliant and somewhat dissapointing, 5 Jan 2005
By 
Dr. Phillipa Welch "Phillipa" (Frankfurt) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy (Audio CD)
It was a very powerful experience listening to this the first time. The Orchestra is superb throughout and even manage to keep up with the sometimes puzzling, strange and for me inappropriate tempo vagueries - especially from Mssr Aimard and particularly noticeable in the "contests, battles and erotic conversations" between the three major instruments.
It is the depth and emotive power of exactly this interplay which makes this concerto for me a rare experience and thus the, for me, oddities introduced in this recording lead to disappointment. Someone coming new to the work might find them stimulating, fresh, invigorating even. I simply find them wrong .. and I do not think I will be alone in this. I do not consider myself a stick in the mud who sniffs at anything but Karajan.
As above, the orchestra performs brilliantly throughout, quite wonderful, even when required it seems to play a, to me, strange tempo mix. The other works on the CD were fresh and invigorating. They are not part of my main listening repertoire, perhaps because of that I was fairly happy with the interpretation.
In totum, clearly a remarkable performance all round, not the way I think Beethoven should be played but ...
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Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy
Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy by Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Audio CD - 2004)
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