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Beethoven: Piano Concerto (Arranged From The Violin Concerto); Bach / Olli Mustonen

Release Date: 04/27/2012 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 443118   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Olli Mustonen
Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka SarasteOlli Mustonen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

No moss grows on Mustonen; he moves at a breathtaking clip and the tempos suit the music admirably.

When it rains, it pours. In our last issue, I raved about a new recording of this curious and rarely heard version of Beethoven's well-known violin concerto—please refer to that issue for details and for a recapitulation of the major recordings of the piece from the early days of the long-playing record. Now here it is again, in a much more fleet reading by the brilliant young Finnish pianist and composer (his own music may be sampled on Finlandia's Portrait of Olli Mustonen and a radiant-sounding, closely miked Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. The two new recordings complement each other nicely. The comparative introspection
Read more brought to the work by Spada and Gibson (ASV DCA 911) contrasts sharply with the more dynamic approach of Mustonen and Sarasate, who dispatch the work in about 15% less time. Overall I prefer the former version to the present one, chiefly because I have come to view the music as more soulful (and soul-searching) than flamboyant. On the other hand, Mustonen and Company undeniably make a more gripping first impression.

Ultimately, the choice may hinge on the concerto's discmates. Mustonen plays Bach's D-Major keyboard version (BWV 1052) of the Violin Concerto in E Major (BWV 1042), accompanied by the strings of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. Presumably this concerto is also conducted by Saraste; although his name appears in detailed listings on the back cover and brochure only in connection with the Beethoven, the jewelbox's spine, the front cover, and the CD itself indicate that the conductor leads both works. This is not this concerto's first recording by any means; Gavrilov and Gould have been responsible for splendid piano versions, while Leondhardt and Kipnis are among the best-known harpsichordists who have undertaken it. No moss grows on Mustonen's version; as in the Beethoven, he moves at a breathtaking clip, and here the tempos suit the music admirably. ASV includes a fine performance of Beethoven's Rondo in Bb and of the Choral Fantasy on a more generously filled disc. Discriminating listeners will not go wrong with either of these new releases and so may be guided by the relative desirability of the supplemental works in making their buying decision.

-- John W. Lambert, FANFARE [5/1995]
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano in D major, Op. 61a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano)
Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Bremen, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Concerto for Harpsichord in D major, BWV 1054 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Olli Mustonen (Piano)
Conductor:  Olli Mustonen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Bremen, Germany 
Length: 14 Minutes 49 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Piano vs. Violin June 30, 2012 By Steven Hartke (Westminster, CA) See All My Reviews "I had been looking for a Piano Version of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto for a while now, and finally found one. I was curious to hear how the piece sounded in this form, after hearing Emmanuel Ax mention it many years ago. The initial melody in the first movement comes across well, but over all I didn’t feel it translated well. However, the lyrical second movement is very good, and the fireworks of the third movement translate fine. It does take a little getting used to, hearing the piece being played with a different instrument, and some sections work, while some don’t. There is also a transcription of the Brahms Violin Concerto that has the same effect on this listener. Both are interesting to listen to, but to my ears, the original Violin versions are the way to go." Report Abuse
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