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Beethoven: Piano Concertos No 1 & 2, Etc / Levin, Gardiner


Release Date: 08/12/1997 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 453438   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

When Robert Levin began his exploration of the Beethoven piano concertos last year, EG gave his Emperor a cautious welcome (12/96), finding much in it that was odd and disconcerting. This was, of course, the highest praise: Beethoven must always, and above all, disconcert us! I have been struck, first in Levin’s Mozart concertos and now in his Beethoven, not so much by the distinctive sound world of his chosen instruments and orchestral accompaniment, as by the subtlety of imaginative insight, vigour of intellect and sheer delight expressed in his music-making. This reaches boiling-point in his thrillingly improvised lead-ins and cadenzas where instinct so vibrantly recharges understanding.

The period instruments of the ORR
Read more and the carefully chosen fortepianos (after Anton Walter, Vienna, 1795) are simply the highly efficient tools with which the musicians’ vision is shaped. And the tension of newly assured, propulsive energy coiled within the first movement of the Concerto No. 1 in C surely re-creates about as convincingly as possible Beethoven’s sheer excitement and struggle in working with both a developing language and fast-evolving instruments.

But first things first. The dancing dotted rhythms of the opening of the Concerto No. 2 point to where this music came from as much as where it is going to. As Levin writes in his penetrating booklet-notes, in matters of rhetoric and thematic development Beethoven looked to Haydn; but his rhythmic and harmonic vocabulary was Mozart’s. Levin’s deep study of both enriches his voyage into Beethoven. The silvery treble of this fortepiano makes this movement far from earthbound; and the more luminous voice of the instrument chosen for the C major Concerto guides the articulation and breathing of its second movement in such a way that its pulse seems to find new, steady health.

This disc also generously offers a revealing reconstruction of Beethoven’s discarded and as yet unpublished Rondo in B flat.

-- Hilary Finch, Gramophone [1997]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin (Fortepiano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in B flat major, WoO 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin (Fortepiano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1794; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Levin (Fortepiano)
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 

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