9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Perahia and Haitink's Beethoven shines in a world of lyric beauty,
This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos (Audio CD)
I don't know if there is another pianist who knows more about sensitive lyric beauty than Murray Perahia. The thoughtfulness that is always present in his work makes him one of the world's greatest pianists. Partnered with him on this disc is the famed Bernard Haitink, who leads the illustrious Concertgebouw. I have to say that our partners do a fabulous job pulling out the lyric beauty in these works. You'll probably never hear the Beethoven concertos given an account that is this sensitive again. Perahia and the Concertgebouw blend in a chamber-like way that brings out wonderful detail, but not in a way that sacrifices the "full orchestra" effect. The detail that is brought out is ravishing.
Having said this, Perahia's set is not one that reveals much of the masculine side of the great master. It wouldn't hurt to have more fire in these works. Some people will find the interpretation tame, complaining that he should have "let loose" more. But then again, others will be extremely sympathetic with his approach, as some experienced listeners point to this as their very favorite Beethoven concerti set. I'm somewhere in between, although I lean towards the second, more favorable group. I personally think Perahia is better with music that isn't so big and grand; his Bach sees him at his artistic height. Sometimes in the course of this set it becomes clear that Perahia isn't at his best with heroic material, as he occasionally sounds a bit harsh.
Still, I still find this to be a wonderful disc, one that I'm sure glad to have in my collection. I'm honestly very tempted to raise my rating to 5 stars as the lyricism that is present makes for a real treat. This is nostalgic Beethoven that will ravish the ears. Those who like performances that let the music speak for itself will find this disc very much to their liking. I certainly think this is a set very well worth checking out, especially if the positive aspects I mentioned sound inviting. I'm certainly going to want to turn to it now and then for the wonderful qualities it has to offer.