22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Rondo In B Flat & Choral Fantasy (Audio CD)
The release of this recording inspired me to revisit an earlier review of the Triple Concerto with Daniel Barenboim, Itzak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma as soloists - a recording which I still prefer (please check my review). To put the music in context, while most listeners will be most familiar with Beethoven's symphonies, he left a vast range of work which explores human emotion and the human condition. His Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano was written in 1804, after his deafness had plunged him into the depths of depression and at a time when he had begun to rediscover both his confidence and his desire to express himself. It is a work which will tug at your emotions on many levels. A gentler piece of music than the symphonies, it has no less depth and power. The balance and contrast of the three solo instruments demands more concentrated listening than the symphonies, which, once you are familiar with them, you can often allow to wash over you as background music while you read or write or relax. The Triple Concerto is at its most rewarding when you shut your eyes and listen to the performance.
This new recording with Aimard, Zehetmair, and Hagen is joyful and a joy to hear. They present the menu of emotions with authority and no little style. The contribution by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is a delight. Orchestra and soloists offer the piece with a passion and an understanding which is never sterile or academic. The sound balance is excellent. Were it not for my preference for the earlier recording, I would rate this as the best I have heard. But, of course, that is a matter of personal taste, and I could hardly claim to be an expert.
The Choral Fantasia (written in 1805) offered on this disc is beautifully executed and, while it does not equate to the power and potency of the Choral Symphony, it is, yet again, an affirmation of the human spirit. I make no apologies for repeating my words from the earlier review - a wonderful production which has to be listened to in peace and comfort ... preferably with a small tumbler of Talisker or some other malt whisky to hand.