94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
Simply the Best,
This review is from: Beethoven: The Piano Concertos (Decca Collectors Edition) (Audio CD)
Vladimir Ashkenazy must rank as one of the greatest pianists of the modern era. His blend of flawless technique and sensitive interpretation marks him out as being uniquely placed to deliver as near to definitive performances as it is possible to get. This set of piano concerti was my introduction to his work, and I remain as impressed now as I was when I first heard them. He is ably supported by a rich and warm sound from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by the incomparable Sir Georg Solti. Ashkenazy was apparently apprehensive about approaching Beethoven and attempting to play him in the West when he emerged from the Soviet Union as a young man in the sixties; he need not have been. His command of the tonal energy and colours of the piano works is unrivalled. I like all these concerti, have heard them often played by various pianists and orchestras, and this set is my favourite. Don't misunderstand me: I have a great admiration for many musicians and they can play individual works by Beethoven and others which I find magnificent. But as far as this group of concerti is concerned, Ashkenazy is very hard to surpass. The version by Murray Perahia and the Royal Concertgebouw under Bernard Haitink is the only one which comes anywhere near. Get them both, if you can; if you have to choose, this is the one I would not be without.