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Schumann, Dvorak: Piano Concertos / Helmchen, Albrecht


Release Date: 11/17/2009 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186333   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannAntonín Dvorák
Performer:  Martin Helmchen
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

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A very nice coupling, this. Martin Helmchen's natural phrasing and lightness of touch serves both pieces very well. He shapes the fluid lines in Schumann's first movement effortlessly, and Marc Albrecht goads the orchestra to a fiery response that makes the work a real dialog between two distinct characters. The Intermezzo has plenty of charm without ever turning coy, while the finale's surging rhythms are confidently projected but never rushed. The only negative point (in both works) concerns the timidity of the orchestral brass and timpani, slightly at odds with the energy of the interpretations themselves.
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It's so good to see Dvorák's lovely concerto getting more attention these days--a great work that never deserved its neglect. Like many pianists, Helmchen plays a cross between the original piano part and Kurz's revision, but to his credit he abjures much of the thickened chordal writing that supposedly better balances the solo against the orchestra (nonsense!). This proves a considerable advantage, particularly in the Andante. Perhaps the finale slows down a touch too much in the middle, before the final return to Tempo I, but otherwise, and like the Schumann, this is a winning performance in just about all respects. The engineering is very good too. Recommended.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Martin Helmchen (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
2.
Concerto for Piano in G minor, Op. 33/B 63 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Martin Helmchen (Piano)
Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Bohemia 

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