The period-instrument movement has accomplished some wonderful things, not least of which has been the improvement of performances that aren't on period instruments. So many ex-Soviet or Eastern European pianists felt the need to be barn-storming virtuosos, and so few really were. I remember vividly how Vladimir Feltsman was "positioned" for that market, only to find his true calling in Bach. Yefim Bronfman isn't quite that extreme an example, but if you consider this Beethoven concerto cycle in tandem with Boris Berezovsky's on Simax, it's clear that swifter tempos, lighter textures, and clean articulation play to these artists' technical strengths by taking some of the heavy-dutyRead more Romantic pressure off, making it possible to relax and have fun. This approach also happens to suit the music. It's a pity that violinists haven't caught up, largely because of the vibrato problem (or absence of it) that puts the standard Romantic repertoire, starting with Beethoven, completely out of reach.
In any case, while David Zinman's Beethoven symphony cycle with these forces was underwhelming, his concertos have been just the opposite. The same qualities of lightness, elegance, and speed that underplayed the symphonic drama of those works permit a splendidly integrated, witty, and emotionally affecting interplay between solo and orchestra. This is true not just of the slow movements, whose lyricism never turns sweaty, but also the finales, where the catchy syncopated rhythms and quicksilver phrasing from both Bronfman and Zinman make these two "learning works" a delight--nowhere more so than in the early Second concerto (which predates the First). Seldom has this work's first movement sounded freer and shapelier, less like Mozart on steroids. These performances are every bit as winning as those on the companion disc of Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, and I can hardly wait to hear No. 3. Yes, they are "of a type", one fully in keeping with today's tastes and theories about how this music should sound--but of that type they stand with the best. Terrific sound too.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Yefim Bronfman (Piano)
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria
Another Great Zinman RecordingMay 29, 2014By John R. (State College, PA)See All My Reviews"David Zinman's Beethoven symphonies for Arte Nova are excellent and this CD is further evidence of Zinman's mastery. These are wonderful pieces and Bronfman and the orchestra both shine. Highly recommended."Report Abuse
Clear soundNovember 17, 2012By H. van Hal See All My Reviews"When you are searching for a clear piano-sound dominating the orchestra, you have to buy this version of the Piano-concertos of L.v.Beethoven. The quality of the recordings are also very nice. Enjoy this music !"Report Abuse