Beethoven: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 Hybrid SACD, SACD
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Sudbin brings his own imagination abd sensibility to bear on these interpretaions,not least in the deeply reflective playing of the central movement of the fourth Concerto,where he clearly points the way to the Romantic era rather than looking to the Classicsism of the 18th century.The Orchestra echoes his approach,playing with both pointedness and warmth. CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK --The Daily Telegraph,19/02/11
...hearing him in the phantom entry to the Emperor Concerto's finale reminds you that you are listening to a wholly individual artist.Such mercurial pianism keeps Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra on their toes but they follow their soloist as to the manner born.BIS's sound and balance are excellent ant the rest of this cycle is eagerly awaited. EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,Apr'11
The clarity of Yevgeny Sudbin's playing,and the range of keyboard colours he commands are qualities that serve him as well in Beethoven as they did in his fine Scriabin recital for BIS a few years back.Sudbin is deeply expressive without a hint of self-indulgence. --BBC Music Magazine,Apr'11
There is much to enjoy as well as to savour in these performances.In a crowded field Sudbin ranks near the top and it will be fascinating to hear how this cycle evolves over the remaining two instalments.Highly recommended. --IRR,Apr'11
Top Customer Reviews
I was really looking forward to the Andante, given the orchestra's style in the opening movement, but I was again a bit disappointed, this time because of the relative timidity of the strings. A pity, because Sudbin's playing has the necessary gravitas, although the climax went by so fast it was a bit of a non-event.
It all comes together in the last movement, which is sensational from both pianist and orchestra. Only Kovacevich generates a similar amount of energy and excitement, but Sudbin has the edge both in terms of technique (flawless scales and runs) and sound.
The sound is excellent and would undoubtedly make for a great SACD experience. But the performance is overall somewhat uneven - I'd love to hear the same forces again after they're perhaps developed their interpretations further.
No such complaints about their 5th Concerto, which is more consistent than the 4th. My only problem is Sudbin's trills in the slow movement, which, even though they're impressive technically, just sound impatient and robotic rather than transcendent. Other than that, various other issues are just down to personal preference.
The playing gives one the impression that the pianist is just gliding on top of the notes, quick, agile, running away with great technique but without the time taken for any deep thoughts or spirituality; (for that quality - piano concerto 4 - one has to turn to Radu Lupu - or to any of the grand masters of the piano, specially to Arrau/ Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Same is valid for the Emperor concerto: No grandeur and no broad lines.
Do not expect the pianistic spirit of Barenboim, Solomon, Arrau, Backhhaus, Kempff, to shine through here with this interpretation, or to be enriched by Mr. Sudbin approach; rather, what you get here is a Lan-lang 'perspective' in technique and in spirit...
Saving grace here is that the SACD-DSD multichannel recording is superb though, which only serves to a enhance the feeling that here was a missing chance.
Beethoven makes no huge demands here for the recording engineer - no bass drum for example that would require extra headroom - and in this 5.0 surround recording I do not feel the need to increase amplification above my normal setting, as I wish to for some other BIS recordings. That is not to underestimate the engineer's achievement; balance is excellent with pin-sharp lateral instrumental placement. Ambience is ideal, with a little unobtrusive help from the rear speakers. No doubt Vanska had something to do with the transparency of the orchestra too, as detail is very clear.
I assume the first three concertos will follow, and if they measure up to this SACD will complete a very collectable set.