Beethoven's Triple Concerto works best when played like a svelte, bubbly concerto grosso rather than middle-period Beethoven pretending to be Elgar. For that to happen, you need a firm, decisive podium master who keeps everything clear and moving ahead. And you need three virtuoso soloists with rhythmic élan, beautiful tone, and radar-like ensemble sensitivity. Enter Zinman, Bronfman, Shaham, Mørk, and Zurich. No, that's not a law office, but rather the musician participants, who embody all the aforementioned criteria and come up with the best-integrated, least-platitudinous, most consistently characterized and caringly detailed Beethoven Triple Concerto ever committed to disc. Read more
The opening ritornello's eloquent section work, lively rhythmic inflections, and snarling brass sonorities probably sound better than anything Beethoven expected, while violinist Gil Shaham and cellist Truls Mørk seamlessly yet passionately merge to the point where it's hard to tell who's playing what in common registers. And pianist Yefim Bronfman builds upon the stylish flair and sensitivity he brilliantly displayed in his previous Beethoven collaborations with Zinman (the Third and Fourth concertos). By virtue of the superb engineering, the balance between soloists and orchestra emerges in perfect perspective.
The Septet, one of Beethoven's least favorite yet most tuneful and unpretentious creations, often is played without a conductor, and in truth it really doesn't need one--yet Zinman's presence makes itself felt. Notice, for example, the increased tension as a result of the first-movement slow introduction's minute tempo adjustments and pungent accents, or hear the Minuetto's excitingly contoured inner lines, or the textural interplay in the Finale that makes the excellent (albeit conductorless) Academy of St. Martin in the Fields sound generalized by comparison. Even if this budget-priced disc were listed at five times the cost, it would be a bargain. [4/21/2006]
Septet in E flat major, Op. 20by Ludwig van Beethoven Performer:
Yefim Bronfman (Piano),
Michel Rouilly (Viola),
Ronald Dangel (Double Bass),
Jakob Hefti (French Horn),
Gil Shaham (Violin),
Florenz Jenny (Bassoon),
Truls Otterbech Mork (Cello),
Michael Reid (Clarinet)
Period: Classical Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Fine RecordingAugust 13, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Beyond its bargain price, this excellent Arte Nova disk has several other pluses going for it: two of Beethoven's lesser performed compositions, the excellence of David Zinman and his Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and finally a set of world class soloists to give Beethoven's Triple Concerto a fresh, compelling performance. To be really effective, the Triple Concerto requires that the soloists really step up and deliver when they are going solo, but at the same time to seamlessly transfer the baton to each other (so to speak) and to establish absolute balance when playing together. Vioinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mork, and pianist Yefim Bronfman perform their respective roles like they've been playing this work together for years- definitive, finely articulated, and not overbearing. I was also taken with the natural sounding balance between soloists and orchestra, and for this David Zinman's polished orchestral forces deserve strong kudos. This is a really fine performance, and if you don't have a Triple Concerto in your CD collection, this one should be seriously considered. The Septet comes across equally well, a refined and impressive account of a chamber work which probably is not well known, even by real Beethoven fans. The sound qualities of this disk are just fine; the recording level seemed just a bit low, but this is easily overcome by the volume control on your system. All in all, a very satisfying and worthwhile recording."Report Abuse
Your recommendationsDecember 18, 2012By arthur w. (Rocky Comfort, MO)See All My Reviews"I already have a couple of recordings of the Triple Concerto, but, because of your description of this recording, I went ahead and ordered it. This time you understated the magnificence of this performance. All I can say is that I was blown away. I heard this piece in my head for a couple of days after hearing this. Maybe I'll pay more attention to your recommendations from now on."Report Abuse
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