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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, classic performances,
The Triple Concerto is slightly problematic Beethoven. Balance is difficult, for a start. The material is attractive but rather four-square, not Beethoven at his best. It needs a little special pleading, and that is exactly what it gets here from these wonderful Russian musicians. Karajan's orchestral contribution is good, not overblown as sometimes he could be, and it sets the scene well for the assured, beautifully phrased, lyrical, energetic playing of Oistrakh, Rostropovich and Richter. This was Radio 3's 'First Choice' on CD Review fairly recently, and it is easy to see why. The Brahms, a work I prefer though again a slightly problematic one, is every bit is good, and I like Szell's leaner orchestral approach. This is a truly wonderful CD and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT REMASTERING OF A CLASSIC RECORDING,
EMI have come up here with another brilliantly remastered classic recording. It is hard to imagine the coming together of a more outstanding group of musicians than Rostropovich, Richter and Oistrakh and then with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic thrown in for good measure. Quite outstanding and highly recommended.
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Recording Of Beethoven's Triple Concerto,
If you have never heard the triple concerto performed, you are in for a wonderful treat with this recording. The piece is startlingly fresh and vibrant and is truly a timeless classic that will never fade. This is undoubtedly the definitive recording and it may well rank as one of the greatest of all classical recordings. Herbert von Karajan drives the Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra and soloists at a dramatic pace and yet, he still manages to extract every ounce of emotion and beauty from the work. Happily,this is the coming together of a maestro conductor, his orchestra in world-beating form, three soloists who are genuine virtuosi and a great masterpiece from Beethoven. The music and performance are sumptuos; from the exhilarating opening to the finale, you'll be enthralled and excited by this magnificent recording.
The Brahm's Double is also a beautiful piece but in this case, it has a very hard act to follow.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest recording of the Triple concerto,
Described as a 'legendary' recording, this glorious offering dates from 1969 - a world in perennial turmoil, with Vietnam, youth culture coming to the fore, and revolution fresh in the minds of half the world's student populations. Beethoven's work has been defined as having a 'moral authority and humanising power', and no recording of the 'Triple' makes this more obvious.
From the very first note you are aware of the passionate authority of the piece, both in its composition and in the empathy of the musicians. It's a piece which inspires you with its sense of humanity - its feel for the grandeur of life and human achievement, its exploration of your own emotional portfolio.
Beethoven's greatness, I feel, lies in his ability to inspire you with epic, universalist chords and themes which enrich you with a sense of connection, with a sense of love of life and optimism for the potential of the human condition ... and then he pens passages of near silence, delicate little melodies which touch your heart and rediscover your own, deeply personal emotions. Beethoven combines the personal with the politico-philosophical in a unique and inspiring fashion ... and a recording in 1969 seems to be suited to the era.
The recording? Taking such musical giants as Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Richter, and Karajan, and giving them the opportunity to craft their art together is an exercise which stands as a tribute to the professionalism and artistic integrity of each. All had spoken of their desire to capture the music as Beethoven intended. Their search for authenticity produces a stimulating exploration of the 'Triple' and a musical balance and rapport which other recordings do not equal.
Written in the first decade of the 19th century, with a world fast in the grips of revolution and social change, the 'Triple' is Beethoven at his most optimistic and humanistic. Though not regarded as his finest work, it is nevertheless an uplifting and emotionally charged work to which you can return again and again.
The Brahms 'Double' concerto, which forms the second half of the CD, is a less grand piece, but one which enable Oistrakh and Rostropovich to display the richness of their techniques. Recorded in 1969 with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, this is a fine performance which ranks amongst the best on record.
While Brahms has never inspired or moved me in the way Beethoven can, the 'Double' is an engaging, cerebral work in which cello and violin dance together - it was written to patch up a rift in Brahm's friendship with a leading violinist, so we can perhaps see Brahms as the cello, poking a degree of fun at himself as the violin is allowed some of the more romantic and liberating lines while the cello is the more serious, more apologetic, partner. Judge for yourself.
A wonderfully entertaining and stimulating CD, to be most highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Russians for Beethoven perform a masterpiece!,
This is the benchmark for the triple concerto, the main reason to buy this CD. Others have done a fine job, but the solidity, grace, power of persuasion and energy of this one are, in my view, unsurpassed. One of the pillars of my collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Significantly improved remastering of masterly performnces,
This disc, coupling two recordings made in 1969, offers a significant improvement in sound over the previous issues. The sound-stage has deepened and the whole impact has greater 'presence' than before. The bass and midrange of the triple concerto is more defined adding more strength and less blended effect to Karajan's accompaniment which is a clear benefit. Szell's accompaniment to the Brahms is far more dominant in character and similar to that he provided for both Fleisher and Curzon in the Brahms piano concerto 1 recordings. This will not be surprising to those who know other recordings by Szell.
As performances, both of these recordings are great enough to be genuinely included in the previous listing of Great Recordings of the Century. That version is still available. The Beethoven in particular has all the benefits and none of the possible disadvantages of putting together such a starry and high profile cast and hoping for inspiration to strike. On this occasion this performance has moved into the 'definitive' category for many collectors.
The Brahms is a more forthright performance as a result of the change of conductor. The recording too is more forthright. This is a very energetic and virile performance. There are gentler ways of doing this work which some may prefer - an example on CD being that with Oistrakh and Fournier with Galliera on an EMI 'twofer' coupling which also includes an excellent earlier version of the Beethoven as well, although not so modern as a recording (good stereo from 1956-8). A favourite DVD of the Brahms, in excellent sound and vision, is available with Batiashvili and Mork with Rattle and the BPO coupled with Brahms 4 and the Parsifal overture of Wagner.
This current CD in its remastered form is certainly deserving of its high reputation and, as such, also deserves to be given serious consideration by potential purchasers looking for either an 'only' version of both works or as a comparative version.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amen,
I am not used to recordings of this quality. Listening to the triple on an Autumn evening with the sun blushing pink above the garden was an almost religious experience. My neighbours were away so I cranked Ludwig up to 11 and had the most profound sense of sweet melancholy. I whooped, yelled and sighed. These performers are flawless and the triple itself (of which I had not heard before - for shame sir) is a magnificent, humorous, supple and dark work, highly rewarding and retaining authority throughout the movements with the third being as moving and powerful as the longer first. For once this is not a highlights Concerto to be ransacked but a melodious and mesmerising body politic. I cannot reccomend this exquisite performance strongly enough. Rostropovich's cello weeps and groans like a character from Blake. Listen and expire.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good,
This is one of the best CDs I own and one that I go back to again and again. The Beethoven piece as a whole hangs together wonderfully with powerful and excellent proformances from soloists, orchestra and conductor (lets not forget the recording engineers and producers who somehow let this work soar from the speakers), and each of the three movement holds up in their own right, the largo moves me to tears every time (even in company) I'm afraid the Brahms piece, although good, is somewhat of an anti-climax after the Lord Mayors show and tends not to get played. So put the Beethoven on and (Arthurs' rule #1) turn up the wick and I can guarantee you'll have a good time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Triple pleasure,
Probably the finest recording of the Triple Concerto. This beautiful under-performed and under-rated work is a must for any serious music collection. The Double Concerto is also superb.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music,
Good music, great recording.
First heard this music back in the 1970, good then still is now.
If you are a fan of Beethoven, you will not go wrong with this CD.
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Beethoven: Triple Concerto/Brahms: Double Concerto by Mstislav Rostropovich/Herbert von Karajan/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sviatoslav Richter/George Szell/David Oistrakh/Cleveland Orchestra
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