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Beethoven: Piano Concertos 2 & 4 / Fleisher, Szell

Release Date: 06/02/1992 
Label:  Sony Classical Essential Classics Catalog #: 48165   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

...I have always admired Fleischer's playing and renewing my acquaintance with these readings have found little reason to modify my enthusiasm for what seems to me eminently intelligent and clean playing from him and no less thoughtful a response from Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra... Turning back to the original reviews I see that EG...in reviewing No. 4 [said] "Could I give higher praise than to say that in places, Fleischer is even more magical than Kempff, giving the genuine frisson, and at the same time keeping on the whole a straighter, less romantic approach to the question of tempo?"... I must say that in listening again to No. 2, it was still the liveliness and the intelligence of the playing that struck me. True, Read more there are inevitably details with which one can take issue; some of the passage work can sound a little off-hand and the [finale is] open to the objection of sounding coldly efficient. Generally, however, there is much to admire throughout the whole set and No. 4 is perceptive and poetic: it is arguably the finest performance in this set... [N]o one investing in these fresh and alert readings is likely to be disappointed.

-- Gramophone [1/1975, reviewing the LP box set of the complete Beethoven piano concertos]


...This is vibrant and virile music making full of passionate sweep, arresting clarity, and genuine, chamber-like give and take between soloist and orchestra.

Like his teacher and mentor Artur Schnabel, Fleisher underlines Beethoven's harmonic tension by either distending or slightly speeding up certain runs and arpeggiated sequences, yet rarely at the expense of accuracy (the Fourth Concerto finale's rapid left-hand figurations are uncommonly clear), although he's not one to slave over making every long trill perfectly even and tapered. Under George Szell's eagle-eye, the Cleveland Orchestra members achieve staggering unanimity in regard to articulation and marcato phrasing, but with more heart and singing impulse than in Szell's relatively stiffer Beethoven accompaniments for Emil Gilels eight years later...

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com [reviewing the Fourth Concerto, Sony 78767]
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/1961 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 27 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1959 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 32 Minutes 9 Secs. 

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