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Beethoven: Piano Concertos / Fischer, Goode, Budapest Festival Orchestra


Release Date: 05/05/2009 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 480508   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BEETHOVEN Piano Concertos: Nos. 1–5 Richard Goode (pn); Iván Fischer, cond; Budapest Festival O NONESUCH 79928 (3 CDs: 167:47)


Iván Fischer is the founder and music director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and, for the next two seasons, the principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C. The NSO wanted him as its permanent conductor, but Fischer’s heart lay in his Budapest Festival Orchestra. Washington’s loss may be the world’s gain, for this Budapest orchestra Read more under Fischer plays with a brio that suits these Beethoven concertos so very well. Richard Goode’s playing here conforms perfectly with Fischer’s approach, and these two consummate musicians with matched orchestra bring us the five Beethoven concertos in an unmatched manner. There are several ways to play these works in an unmatched manner, and very many ways to play them in a manner that you would want to take a match to. Goode’s approach is not the poetic Beethoven of Perahia, the thoughtful, probing Beethoven of Schnabel, or the enunciated Beethoven of Rudolf Serkin, all of which I adore, but is a brio -laden Beethoven that I welcome to the fold. I don’t want to omit Arrau’s, Brendel’s, or Pollini’s efforts in these five concertos, all of which one needs to hear from time to time for other rewarding approaches. And in 32:2, my review of the First and Fifth Concertos with pianist François-Frédéric Guy and conductor Philippe Jordan highly praised these performers.


In all three movements of each of the five concertos in the present review, inner part-writing is clearly discernable and never unbalanced. Richard Goode’s keyboard technique and the tonal quality he draws forth from his instrument are astonishing, but technique never overwhelms the music. Here, the music leads the pianist, not the other way around as I noted elsewhere in another review of these five concertos. Best of all is Goode’s phrase shaping, which causes the music virtually to speak. Iván Fischer is a conductor in the Central European tradition with a contemporary outlook. He does not schlep the music, but moves it along and imbues it with innigster Empfindung where appropriate. And what is most important, he lets you hear the detailed part-writing.


As with any collection of performances, everything is not perfect. The principal problem with these readings rests in the tempos of the slow movements. The slow movements of the first four concertos are played a bit too fast for my taste. The one that suffers the most is that of the Fourth Concerto, but “suffers” is a bit too strong. Rather, it’s the one slow movement that I find a bit troubling. I’ve used “a bit” repeatedly because my complaint is probably closer to a quibble. The slow movement of the “Emperor” Concerto, however, benefits from a faster tempo, as I noted in a previous review of Yefim Bronfman’s “Emperor” recording (30:6). As I replay each of these first four concerto performances in my mind (a dubious process, at best) with slower slow-movement tempos, I imagine the achievement of my ideal of what a Beethoven piano concerto should be.


If you don’t own this three-CD set, your understanding of the Beethoven piano concertos is incomplete. If you do own this set, and if you also own the Schnabel/Sargent, Serkin/Ozawa (yes, Ozawa is good here), and Perahia/Haitink sets, you should have a pretty good idea of what these concertos are about. But to make matters more complex for some readers and simpler for others, Fischer is a more satisfying conductor than either Sargent, Ozawa, or Haitink in matters of clarity of orchestral detail.


FANFARE: Burton Rothleder
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 35 Minutes 50 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 28 Minutes 8 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 33 Minutes 25 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 32 Minutes 26 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Richard Goode (Piano)
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 36 Minutes 25 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Piano Concerto no 1: III. Rondo: Allegro scherzando
Piano Concerto no 4: II. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto no 5 "Emperor": III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 1, I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 1, II. Largo
Piano Concerto No. 1, III. Rondo - Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 2, I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 2, II. Adagio
Piano Concerto No.2, III. Rondo - Allegro molto
Piano Concerto No. 3, I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 3, II. Largo
Piano Concerto No. 3, III. Rondo - Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 4, I. Allegro - moderato
Piano Concerto No. 4, II. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto No. 4, III. Rondo - Vivace
Piano Concerto No. 5, I Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 5, Adagio un poco moto
Piano Concerto No.5, III. Rondo - Allegro, ma non troppo

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Too soon to tell January 6, 2013 By Charles R. (Columbus, OH) See All My Reviews "I've not yet heard these performances other than the brief samples you've provided. From other recordings I know of Fisher conducting Haydn with another Hungarian orchestra he is a wonderful conductor of repertoire some take for granted.And Richard Goode is a an exceptional pianist as I learned when I first heard him in person some years ago in Boston. In this context all I can honestly write about is Burton Rothledere's Fanfare commentary on these performances. He cites fine performances of this repertoire but fails to mention one of the most highly regarded performances of all. That is the Fleisher set with Szell & the Cleveland Orchestra. They remain exceptional performances & deserve mention in this type of review. Thanks." Report Abuse
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