There's a tendency on the part of some performers to play Beethoven's First and Second Piano Concertos as if they were really by Mozart--all elegance, poise, and refinement. Happily, Boris Berezovsky finds the Beethovenian fire burning beneath the Mozartian surface. Right from his vibrant entrance in Concerto No. 1, Berezovsky plays with fierce energy (despite his generally light touch) and a clearly discernible enjoyment. This is matched Thomas Dausgaard's equally electric reading of the orchestral part, which in many ways reminds me of the classic Szell/Fleisher recording. Of course the small-scale sound of the 38-member Swedish Chamber Orchestra cannot possibly equal the full sonority of the Cleveland Orchestra in its heyday, but it'sRead more remarkable how Szell's clear textures and crisp articulation match Dausgaard's, who, by the way, is using the new Barenreiter editions. Berezovsky seems to be of like mind with Fleisher, at least terms of his singing tone and mercurial style.
Concerto No. 2, which can be a rather bland affair in the wrong hands, here sparkles with refreshing vitality, giving us reason to listen anew. As a bonus, the disc includes Rondo in B-flat, which originally was the finale of concerto No. 2 before Beethoven replaced it with the slightly more audacious one we know today. It's an enjoyably good-natured piece, another example of Beethoven's stunning piano writing, masterfully rendered by Berezovsky. Simax's recording places piano and orchestra in close proximity--an effect that works well in this context, especially with these chamber-size forces.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria