The Schumann on this CD was judged best version on BBC3's CD Review some time back. It is quite excellent. Perahia is, of course, an excellent Mozart player, and his qualities of musicality, precision and thoughtfulness fit Schumann's glorious one-and-only Piano Concerto perfectly. It's not a virtuoso concerto - Liszt called it a 'Concerto without piano' - but it does sometimes need the grand Romantic gesture. Perahia supplies this. But it is more often intimate, gentle and lyrical, and he is particularly good here. He is greatly helped by outstanding support from Sir Colin Davis and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and the recording is natural, well balanced and very faithful. The same comments apply to the Grieg, a concerto whose idiom is quite different but which displays the same combination of grand gesture mixed with gentleness and intimacy. This is a very fine CD indeed, and anyone seeking this very popular coupling really need look no further.
The recording was made back in 1988 in the Philharmonie Gasteig, Munich, the home of the orchestra, the Simphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks, one of the splendid orchestras assembled not long after WWII. Sir Colin Davis was the chief conductor between 1983 and 1992. The performances, with, of course, Murray Perahia on piano, were recorded live (presumably that means in one take in an empty auditorium as there is no audience noise) in splendid sound.
An old "Penguin Guide" said of the Schumannn:-
"Murray Perahia has always brought a special ardour and poetry to Schumann and his long-awaited account of the Piano Concerto shows no want of either quality. Perahia's version benefits - like the classic Philips account from Stephen Kovacevich (here, Schumann and Grieg Piano Concertos: Kovacevich, Kocsis) - from having the guiding hand of Sir Colin Davis directing the orchestra...The confident bravura in the performances presents Perahia in a rather different light from usual. He is never merely showy, but here he enjoys displaying his virtuosity as well as his ability to invest a phrase magically with poetry. In the last resort, Kovacevich's simpler and more intimate manner is even more affecting in the first two movements but, with its full and spacious sound, the Perahia is the finest recent version of this favourite coupling."
And of the Grieg:-
"Perahia, perhaps surprisingly, seems even more in sympathy with the Grieg Concerto than with the Schumann, revelling in the bravura as well as bringing out the lyrical beauty in radiantly poetic playing. He is commanding and authoritative when required, with the blend of spontaneity, poetic feeling and virtuoso display this music calls for..."