Busoni's fascinating, mammoth Piano Concerto no longer can claim to be the rarity it once was, when just about the only version available was John Odgon's not-really-as-great-as-its-reputation-would-lead-us-to-believe recording for EMI. For the performance that really is great, look no further. Dohnányi and Ohlssen play the spots off the work, rugged and impassioned in the opening two movements, thoughtfully intense in the long central Pezzo serioso, scintillating in the All'Italiana, and refreshingly cogent and truly "moderato" in a finale that never drags or sounds anti-climactic. This is, in fact, an ideal sort of piece for Dohnányi, and a perfect partnership, one in which the conductor can maintain the thread of symphonic argument andRead more concentrate on securing superior results from the Cleveland Orchestra while leaving the more impassioned and Romantically self-indulgent moments to Ohlssen. The recording, also one of Telarc's best from this source, still betters the competition. At mid-price, here's an easy first choice for this wonderful work.--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano with Orchestra and Male Chorus, Op. 39/K 247by Ferruccio Busoni Performer:
Garrick Ohlsson (Piano)
Christoph von Dohnányi
Cleveland Men's Chorus
Period: 20th Century Written: 1903-1904 Date of Recording: 02/04/1989 Venue: Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland Length: 71 Minutes 45 Secs.
This is the Busoni Concerto to getDecember 16, 2011By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH)See All My Reviews"Before making this recording of Busoni's mammoth Piano Concerto in 1989, Garrick Ohlsson and the Cleveland Orchestra under Dohnanyi took the piece on tour. I saw them perform this at Symphony Hall in Boston. Boston Globe critic Richard Dyer called this the most stunning example of sustained virtuosity he'd ever witnessed. I don't often agree with Dyer, but he was spot-on here. There are three noteworthy recordings of this Concerto: Ogdon's, Hamelin's, and this one. Hamelin's is a disappointment to me: an almost insolently fluent technique doesn't mask an emotional disconnect. There is also Ogdon's 1960s recording, for many years the only game in town. Ogdon's technique is excellent in this recording (it wasn't always reliable, especially during his medicated period, which came later), and his sound is huge. But there are moments when his rhythm goes inexplicably slack - Ogdon didn't have the best sense of structure and this is a concerto that needs it. It also needs a rock solid accompaniment, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Revenaugh are out of their depth. The woodwind playing in the Tarantella is particularly raggedy. I've noted a number of Amazon reviews which tout Ogdon's version over this, and reading them I can't help but sense that some are letting nostalgia override their musical judgment. Ohlsson has all the technique of Ogden, with more color, an equally startling dynamic range, better rhythm, and surer sense of structure. He's helped by a gutsy sounding Bosendorfer Imperial grand. The Cleveland Orchestra more than rise to the occasion. Dohnanyi never lets majesty devolve into portentousness, or boisterousness into chaos, and keeps the various sections of the orchestra are uncannily balanced. (Dohnanyi is not my favorite conductor, but at the time of this recording he hadn't yet descended into the Kappelmeister phase which marred his last decade in Cleveland.) Telarc's sonics are superb, with the two-microphone technique yielding excellent balance between piano and orchestra. In short, if you only have space in your collection for one Busoni Concerto (and for many one may be more than enough), this is the one to get."Report Abuse