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Beethoven: Piano Concertos No 3 & 4 / Uchida, Sanderling

Release Date: 04/09/1996 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 446082   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mitsuko Uchida
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Mitsuko Uchida's recordings continue to win golden opinions on first appearance; and thereafter, which is always the sterner test. It is interesting how often her name appears in "Building a Library" shortlists on BBC Radio 3. Most recently. it was her Philips recording of Schumann's Carnaval (Philips, 5/95) which won the corporation's coveted laurel. This pairing of Beethoven's Third and Fourth Piano Concertos is formidable, too, the playing at once brilliant and sensitive, rigorous and free-spirited.

Of the two performances, that of the Fourth Concerto is perhaps the more memorable. Uchida re-creates the solo part with flair and imagination, and the kind of dazzling technique you would expect of a pianist who plays
Read more — say — the Debussy Etudes as brilliantly as she does (Philips, 7/90). And what a wonderful voyage of discovery the slow movement is here. If the performance seems a touch mellower and more confiding than that of the C minor Concerto, it is perhaps because it was being played live to an audience in a hall whose famous acoustic can be a shade severe when empty. What we have here in the Fourth Concerto is a first-rate concert-hall perspective (with the applause edited out).

Some might argue that the C minor Concerto is a severe piece. Certainly, this appears to be Sanderling's and Uchida's view of the first movement (until the cadenza, where Uchida becomes much more confiding in the dolce and espressivo passages). The performance is wonderfully alive, which is more than can be said for 75 per cent of extant recordings of this music, but there are pianists — Kovacevich, Kempff and Gilels (on a rare, and long-deleted Leningrad recording with Sanderling) — who have made the music of the first movement move a shade more gracefully and songfully than Uchida does here. The finale is also quite plainly done, for all the refinement of the playing. The slow movement, by contrast, emerges as a wonderfully rapt soliloquy for the solo pianist, the orchestra doing little more than make simple acts of obeisance before the soloist. (Rather stiff acts of obeisance: throughout the C minor Concerto Sanderling is inclined to make the orchestra sit rather heavily on down-beats and sforzandos.)

The recording of the C minor Concerto is best heard at a safe distance. Played too loud or heard too close it can seem unduly fierce.

-- Gramophone [5/1996]
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mitsuko Uchida (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 37 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mitsuko Uchida (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Live  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 34 Minutes 42 Secs. 

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