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Beethoven: Piano Concerto Op 61a; Mozart / Peter Serkin

Release Date: 02/21/2008 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 35125  
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Serkin
Conductor:  Seiji OzawaAlexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia OrchestraEnglish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***

Beethoven expended little effort over arranging his Violin Concerto for piano. He left the orchestration intact, reproduced the solo part more or less verbatim, and added just enough left-hand accompaniment to keep the soloist interested. Although he didn't provide cadenzas for the violinist, Beethoven left the pianist four from which to choose, including a wild fantasia that culminates in petulant exchanges between piano and timpani. Perhaps this concoction always will remain a curio, yet a few recent recordings elevate Op. 61a to a genuine work of stature--most notably the stylish, virile, and committed Suk/Baley (TNC) and
Read more Berezovsky/Dausgaard (Simax). So does this remarkable 1969 Peter Serkin/Seiji Ozawa collaboration, but in a completely different manner.

They consistently emphasize breadth and lyricism, and justify their uncommonly slow first-movement tempo by virtue of focused, impeccably accented phrasing that is rhythmically precise yet so vibrant and full-bodied that nothing ever sounds static or rigid. Certainly the robust sonics help, along with the New Philharmonia Orchestra's warm, responsive, and songful execution. It's all too easy for a pianist to reduce the sparse piano writing to surface tinkling, yet even Serkin's most delicate nuances and rounded cadences convey firmness and a sure sense of direction--all the more reason to welcome ArkivMusic.com's on-demand reissue of this long overlooked and underrated recording in a rare Japanese RCA reprint. You can obtain it coupled with the Serkin/Ozawa Schoenberg Piano Concerto, or as here: alongside the pianist's sparkling, cultured, and wittily nuanced Mozart F major K. 459 concerto, featuring like-minded support from the English Chamber Orchestra under Alexander Schneider's shapely and sensitive direction. Booklet notes are in Japanese only, but given such revelatory music making, who cares?

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano in D major, Op. 61a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 6/1969 
Concerto for Piano no 19 in F major, K 459 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Alexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1973 

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