10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I was mildly disappointed,
This review is from: Beethoven: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 (Audio CD)
I was eager to listen to this after all the rave reviews but it was a relative disappointment. The opening movement of No. 4 is played in a brisk and lively manner, which often compromises the lyricism. The orchestra's lurches and jabs at certain chords was a low point for me, but the playing is admittedly very crisp. Sudbin also manages a moment of rare beauty before the recapitulation, which shows that the partnership can play poetically when they really want to!
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.