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Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1, Calm Sea And Prosperous Voyage

Release Date: 11/01/2000 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 469549   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini
Conductor:  Eugen JochumClaudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraVienna State Opera Concert Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This Galleria reissue compilation contains a pleasing program of Beethoven's First Piano Concerto in C, the cantata Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, and the Op. 80 Choral Fantasy. The recording of the piano concerto comes from a 1983 live concert given by Maurizio Pollini with the Vienna Philharmonic and Eugen Jochum. As is usual with this pianist, his interpretation, even of this early work, is characterized by a seriousness of approach that ensures a convincing recreation of the first movement's propulsive energy. Tautly rhythmical playing from the orchestra in the opening ritornello also captures the heroism of the moment to good effect, though the recording doesn't allow the festive trumpets to register with enough impact. Jochum and the Read more Vienna Philharmonic furnish admirable accompaniments however, encouraging the sometimes ice-cool Pollini to fully engage the romantic intimacies of the central Largo. Wind contributions from first chair players are characterful and warmly idiomatic. The rondo finale sounds adroit, though a comparison with Pollini's later recording--from the complete set with Abbado and Berlin--shows a slight tendency here to under-accentuate, which may have more to do with the recording than the performance. Generally, the solo playing shows a remarkable consistency of view in both versions.

Abbado takes the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic for the other works on this disc. The Goethe-inspired Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage is disappointing: Abbado's performance lacks weight, and more importantly, it misses the plausible tone-painting of the kind that John Eliot Gardiner elucidated with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique on DG Archiv. Choral forces in Vienna were probably larger than for Gardiner's recording, but diction and articulation are weaker and less focused.

Pollini returns for the Op. 80 Fantasia, possibly the highlight of this bargain disc, and joins in a performance of meticulous responsiveness and precision, with a beautifully paced choral transition toward the close of the work. This 1988 account is notable for its finely balanced forces and for the immediacy of the choral sound--so at the price, you can almost justify buying this disc for these last 18 or so minutes. As for the rest, the concerto also is generally first class, if not quite in the league of Pollini's Berlin remake.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
Meerestille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814-1815; Vienna, Austria 
Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 "Choral Fantasy" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Maurizio Pollini (Piano)
Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 

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