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Beethoven: Emperor Concerto, Choral Fantasy / Levin


Release Date: 08/13/1996 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 447771   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et RomantiqueMonteverdi Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The period-instrument movement has arguably thrown up no more persuasive advocates than Gardiner and the lesser-known Levin, as this release amply demonstrates. If Levin is less convincing here than his colleagues, the fault, if any, lies largely with his instrument, rather than with him. While a compelling case can be made for the use of the fortepiano in Mozart’s concertos, its virtues over the modern piano are far less evident in the later part of Beethoven’s output. For a start, Beethoven increasingly wrote ahead of his time and beyond the instruments of his day. ‘What do I care for your miserable fiddle,’ he growled at the violinist Schuppanzigh, ‘when the spirit moves me.’

Still, if you must have the older instrument,
Read more you won’t find better accounts than these. Lively (sometimes almost to a fault), acutely communicative and undogmatically stylish, they have a sense of spontaneity and relish which is positively contagious. An added bonus is the inclusion of two alternative improvisations, by Levin himself, as curtain-raisers to the Choral Fantasy.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Jeremy Siepmann, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin (Fortepiano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Smith Square, London 
Length: 35 Minutes 53 Secs. 
2.
Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 "Choral Fantasy" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin (Fortepiano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Smith Square, London 
Length: 22 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: In attempting to recapture some aspects of the concert premier of the "Choral Fantasy" on December 22, 1808, this selection concludes with two improvised fantasies performed by Robert Levin. These fantasies are based on the material Beethoven used for the two improvisatory keyboard fantasises he performed before and after that 1808 performance of the "Choral Fantasy". 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Found disappointing July 19, 2013 By RW Phillips (HAMPSTEAD, NC) See All My Reviews "Many folks would probably enjoy the whole recording, but I was disappointed in some of the presentation. The Choral Fantasy was the only portion that brought energy to the disc. Many folks would disagree with this review, but it did not "play" well with my listening" Report Abuse
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