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Radu Lupu - Complete Decca Concerto Recordings


Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001581402   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus MozartJohannes BrahmsRobert Schumann,   ... 
Performer:  Radu LupuVincent ZarzoHan de VriesGeorge Pieterson,   ... 
Conductor:  Zubin MehtaLawrence FosterUri SegalEdo De Waart,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Symphony OrchestraEnglish Chamber Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Iconic pianist Radu Lupu first recorded for Decca in 1970 and his recorded repertory has centred round a small number of composers – chiefly Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Mozart and Schumann. This set brings together all of Radu Lupu’s concerto recordings for Decca.

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Beethoven Concertos nos 1 & 2
"I vividly recall hearing Radu Lupu play Beethoven's C major Concerto at the 1976 Edinburgh Festival, two years or so before he made this beguilingly elegant recording of it with Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. Seated on an upright chair and bearded like some Victorian sage he addressed the keyboard with a rare blend of
Read more intelligence and sensibility. It was a performance to which Turgenev might have given a nod of approval...[T]he two early concertos are all ravishment and sensuous dazzle. This is not the fiercely argued, classically chiselled Beethoven of a Schnabel, a Serkin, a Kempff, or a Brendel but by its own lights it is Beethoven playing of extraordinary vitality and imaginative sensibility."

– Gramophone [3/1996]

Beethoven Concerto no 4
"The Fourth Concerto was the first to be recorded, in 1977. It is a performance that is wonderfully alive to the music's fanciful, improvisatory spirit and its quietened beauty. I wrote at the time: "In contrast to Pollini who is all chiselled splendour, Ashkenazy [with Solti, Decca, 5/88] who is all rubicund joy and Gilels who is the very mirror of pianistic perfection, Lupu plays the concerto in a sweetly poetic style, in some ways, reminiscent of Curzon's classic recording of the mid 1950s". Not that Lupu's performance lacks temperament or tension. There are strong fingers within the velvet gloves..."

– Gramophone [3/1996]

Beethoven Concerto no 5
"It is clear from the appreciably quicker tempo set by the orchestra at the start of the Adagio that Lupu's is going to be a rather different reading. And he does indeed catch in rare measure that sense of an inner dreamscape—the notes floating, free, unaccented... In the long first movement Lupu's is a reading which, though it may sacrifice some of the sweep and tonal splendour of the de Larrocha, communicates in much greater degree—notes more sparely, more tellingly struck—a sense of the music's intellectual fibre, its classical poise, and its classical command of argument..."

– Gramophone [9/1979]

Beethoven Concerto no 3
"The Third Concerto is quintessential Beethoven, recalling as it does Mozart’s Piano Concerto (K491) in the same key, of which Beethoven famously declared "we shall never be able to do anything like that!" The two pieces share the same anxiety and intensity, even though the younger composer was yet to experience the desolation we hear so uncomfortably in K491. Beethoven is his own man, though, and time and time again breaks away from convention. How telling the pianissimo timpani are as the soloist winds up his cadenza in the first movement – and how atmospheric it is in this recording, with the hard drumsticks distinct but distant behind that blanket of strings. How daringly Beethoven explores the remote key of E major for his hymn-like slow movement – and how sonorous it is in Lupu’s hands! And how cleverly Beethoven plunges back into a restless C minor for the finale – G sharp, remember, is the same black note as A flat – and how quickly Lupu responds!"

– Peter J. Lawson, MusicWeb International

Mozart Concertos nos 12 & 21
"Radu Lupu's first Mozart record is a very good one and must take a place among the best records of Mozart concertos to have appeared in recent years. The ECO and Uri Segal are strong in support but the record is really Lupu's, I think, with the performances taking on a keener edge when he holds the scene. There is not quite the degree of integration between piano and orchestra in the C major Concerto that made Barenboim's account of it so remarkable, and while I'm not suggesting that Segal provides a mere accompaniment it cannot be claimed that he generates what was a special joy of the Barenboim record: a phenomenally communicative air of concerted music-making. But I find plenty to admire, in the C major Concerto especially. There is character, a fine ear for balance, good rhythm; all those, as well as special distinction in the attention to the flux of tensions in the slow movement, and to the background of march-like elements in the first movement which unify the glorious variety of the foreground. In the finale there is perhaps some slackening of the initial tempo and generally less interpretative tidiness. Good orchestral playing throughout both concertos and clear, warm recorded sound, with the woodwind well forward in the balance.

Lupu's playing lacks nothing, to my mind, unless I suggest that he might have permitted himself a slightly wider range of dynamics, particularly in the earlier work. His taste is exquisite. So is his technical polish. Some people might prefer a more assertive way of playing Mozart, as Barenboim's is, with bigger moments (and more of them), but you may agree that a phrase or two establishes that Lupu has understood the world of these concertos and that there is no lack of characterisation. The intensity of some of the passions may have been curbed to fit a formal, classical style of expression, but in a way that makes them all the more telling. And they have nonetheless been felt: there is nothing here that is cold or mechanical, or even merely elegant. Best of all, the playing is vividly articulate: aptly weighted, justly accented, and as vocal in feeling as one might say the music is vocal in inspiration."

– Gramophone [3/1975]

Grieg & Schumann Concertos
"This became a popular concerto coupling back in the days of vinyl, as the pieces shared similar keys, lengths, and orchestral scorings. They fit comfortably on one LP, one to a side, and in fact that is the way this particular recording was first issued. Now it has re-surfaced in Decca's "Legends" series, and hearing it again, one has to agree that it has found its appropriate niche, and accolade. Compared to the two reference recordings, this performance is the most classically straightforward, though without being a bit prosaic. There are an almost infinite number of moments that receive a loving care that seems just right, and not just from the soloist either: Previn proves himself more collaborator than mere accompanist. In the slow movement of the Grieg, the conductor and orchestra work hand in glove with the soloist to provide moment after moment of supreme inspiration and magic."

– Rad Bennett, ClassicsToday.com

Mozart & Beethoven Quintets
"As to the performance, Radu Lupu certainly brings great sparkle and freshness to both works and there are too many felicitous touches to enumerate. One can only marvel at the elegance and wit he displays in the first movement of the Beethoven (bars 108-124). Though I have always admired the beauty of sound Lupu achieves, I must confess that I have at times found a want of joy and spontaneity in his playing in recent years, and it is a pleasure to find both in such abundance here. The wind playing is marvellously civilized and beautifully blended..."

– Gramophone [9/1986]
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1979 
Venue:  Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 
2. Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1979 
Venue:  Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 
3. Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1979 
4. Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1977 
5. Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1979 
6. Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
7. Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Uri Segal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
8. Concerto for Piano no 12 in A major, K 414 (385p) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Uri Segal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
9. Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major, K 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Vincent Zarzo (French Horn), Han de Vries (Oboe), Radu Lupu (Piano),
George Pieterson (Clarinet), Brian Pollard (Bassoon)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
10. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  Edo De Waart
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
11. Quartet for Piano and Strings in E flat major, Op. 16 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vincent Zarzo (French Horn), Han de Vries (Oboe), Radu Lupu (Piano),
George Pieterson (Clarinet), Brian Pollard (Bassoon)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
12. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1973 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 40 Minutes 26 Secs. 
13. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Radu Lupu (Piano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
Date of Recording: 01/1973 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 30 Minutes 57 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 1. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 2. Largo
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando)
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 1. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 2. Adagio
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 3. Rondo (Molto allegro)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 1. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 2. Largo
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 3. Rondo (Allegro)
Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: 1. Allegro moderato
Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: 2. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58: 3. Rondo (Vivace)

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