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Beethoven: The Piano Concertos 1-5, Piano Sonata Appassionata Box set

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Bernard Haitink
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (4 Aug. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000000S92
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,892 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Download
First and foremost, it’s a pleasure when the Generalissimo of the Five Star Martyrs’ Brigade (and registered Culture Vulture) John Kwok waddles into gun-range. Let’s critique his review first:

“Andras Schiff's splendid traversal of the Beethoven piano concerto cycle is definitely one worth owning. His performances are richly steeped in lyricism and poetic beauty (OK, the first of the brocades has made an appearance). They are also steeped (JK, what would John Updike say of your use of the same verb in successive sentences?) in the fiery dramatic tension that I've come to expect from the likes of Arrau and Kempff (not many people would associate the latter with these qualities but there you go). Of the current crop of distinguished pianists, Schiff is the only one (JK – really???) who comes close to scaling the emotional heights shown by Arrau and Kempff (alas, the dynamic duo are wheeled out again in a sea of generalisations). His transcendant (sic) performances are as good as those of Kovacevich and Perahia too (JK is name-dropping at this point). Unlike Perahia, Schiff is better at stressing the lyrical qualities of the piano, though it lacks some of the emotional intensity and drama that I've heard with Perahia's Sony cycle with Haitink conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra (General Generalisation condemns this murky sentence and so do I – and JK just said before that Schiff delivers “fiery dramatic tension” so how does one harmonise these juxtapositions????). For example, Schiff's performances of the 4th and 5th piano concerti are among the most lyrical I have yet heard (this is the third time that JK has used the word ‘lyrical’ or variants thereof).
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Format: Audio CD
Andras Schiff's splendid traversal of the Beethoven piano concerto cycle is definitely one worth owning. His performances are richly steeped in lyricism and poetic beauty. They are also steeped in the fiery dramatic tension that I've come to expect from the likes of Arrau and Kempff. Of the current crop of distinguished pianists, Schiff is the only one who comes close to scaling the emotional heights shown by Arrau and Kempff. His transcendant performances are as good as those of Kovacevich and Perahia too. Unlike Perahia, Schiff is better at stressing the lyrical qualities of the piano, though it lacks some of the emotional intensity and drama that I've heard with Perahia's Sony cycle with Haitink conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra. For example, Schiff's performances of the 4th and 5th piano concerti are among the most lyrical I have yet heard. Speaking of Haitink, his conducting of the Dresden Staatskapelle is exemplary, and is comparable to his excellent work with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. However, due to Teldec's state of the art digital recording, the sound quality is substantially better. Most noteworthy are the fine performances of the woodwind and string sections. If you are looking for one superb Beethoven piano concerto cycle, then this has to be it. Otherwise, it belongs on the shelf with the exceptional cycles of Kempff, Arrau (either with Haitink or Davis conducting, though I give the nod to Davis), Kovacevich and Perahia.
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Format: Audio CD
Just being a music lover (of most kinds) and with no technical expertise, IMHO:
Overall. Excellent orchestral playing from Dresden Staatskapelle as usual, though I am not always a great fan of Haitink, who can be pedestrian. I'm a great fan of Schiff's Bach and I think he brings the same classical restraint and considered dynamics here, which is a change from the over-inflated romanticist executants. Particularly good in the sonata. Occasionally of course it can lack brio and showy virtuosity and appear a bit "same-ish" if you listen to more than one concerto at a time.

Piano Conc 1
Nice light orchestra but not lacking shading and contrast where needed, Haitink gets it just right from the off. Lovely second movement from Schiff and a good interplay between orchestra and piano. Third movement beautiful light and delicate touch from S., speed just right. Plenty of forward dynamic without rush. Classical approach especially pays off in this concerto.

Piano Conc 2
Ditto much of the above. Makes this often overlooked concerto a pleasure to hear. The muddy textures of some versions entirely absent here. Delicate touch where required from Schiff without being too slow where forward momentum needed.
Piano Conc 3
For me the crucial test in this concerto is the end of first movement - I've yet to hear any pianist bring it off. Nice tone from the orchestra but I feel more forward momentum needed in movt 1. Again sensitive playing by S. in second movt but a touch too slow for me, verging on romanticist slow but rescued by restraint, beautiful orchestral sound. Beautifully articulated playing by S. but a touch too slow at times, holding the orchestra on a lead. Nice moments but not the best of the five by any means.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
... what a delightful interpretation and great sound recording.
As a long-time Mr. Andras Schiff and Beethoven "apassionado", I really recommend this complete "Piano Concertos" for everyone who really appreciate those two gentlemen.
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