Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Concertos: No. 3
; No. 4
Heidrun Holtmann (pn); Concertino München
MUSICAPHON M 56849 (66: 44)
I knew that some of Mozart?s piano concertos had been arranged for chamber ensemble, but I had no idea that the same had been done for Beethoven. The person who arranged the Third Concerto for piano and string quintet is unknown to us, but he (or she) is certain to have
been a contemporary of Beethoven, and probably Viennese. According to Musicaphon?s notes, the arrangement of the Fourth Concerto has been ?traced back? to one Alexander Pössinger, also a contemporary of Beethoven. Of course, the reason for creating such arrangements in the first place was to give people an opportunity to hear and play music to which they otherwise might not have had access.
The arranger(s) did their work well, because the results are thoroughly idiomatic. Listening to this CD, at no point did I miss the contributions of a full orchestra. If I had not known better, I never would have guessed that I was not hearing this music as Beethoven had written it. Obviously, I don?t think these chamber arrangements should replace the originals in our affections and on concert programs. All I am saying is that this was a thoroughly satisfying listening experience. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was a completely charming one as well. This is intimate, pocket-sized Beethoven, but no less potent in spite of it.
These performances preserve Beethoven?s dynamic and structural proportions. It must be tempting to make these arrangements sound cute, but Holtmann and Concertino München resist the temptation, and Beethoven?s genius, while somewhat shrunken down, is not diluted. Holtmann?s technique allows her to pull off the first-movement cadenza in the Third Concerto with unflustered security. She?s a solid, communicative player throughout. The other musicians play with such sensitivity to timbre that you don?t find yourself wishing for woodwinds and brass. The balance between the piano and the strings has been handled excellently; kudos to the musicians and to Musicaphon?s engineering team. I am confused, however, by one thing: the notes allude to an ensemble of two violins, two violas, and one cello, yet the members of Concertino München appear to include three violinists (Jürgen Besig, Florian Sonnleitner, Klaus-Peter Werani), just one violist (Jürgen Weber), and two cellists (Helmut Veihelman and Hanno Simons). (Veihelman plays in the Third Concerto and Simons in the Fourth.)
Yes, this is a novelty and not very important, but I was captivated by it to the point of playing it for an entire afternoon. Perhaps you will be too.
FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Heidrun Holtmann (Piano)
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Heidrun Holtmann (Piano)
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria
Notes: Arranger: Franz Alexander Pössinger.
Be the first to review this title