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Britten: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto / Richter, Lubotsky, Britten -

Release Date: 03/17/2003 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 473715  
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This record tempts me to name-dropping reminiscence! I bought the original LP in July 1971 and during the following month was in the composer's Aldeburgh home and referred not only to the issue itself but also JW's Gramophone review, in which he said that in the Piano Concerto Richter and Britten together brought out a certain Russianness and that, while he thought this was a performance likely to remain unrivalled on record, he ''would dearly like to hear Britten himself in the work''. Britten said that he agreed that there was a Russian flavour to the piece, but modestly added (with his typical wry smile) that although he had been able to play the solo part when he gave the premiere and other early performances, he certainly could not do Read more so any longer. He added with some pride that Richter had learned the concerto ''entirely off his own bat''. The playing here is first rate: a crisp, vital and persuasive.

The Violin Concerto composed a year later in Canada has much more openness of personal feeling and a final elegiac coda of haunting beauty. But there's still no shortage of virtuoso demands, and indeed Heifetz once asked Britten over a lunch to simplify it or allow him to do so! The composer resisted but was concerned enough to ask Manoug Parikian's advice, which was to leave it as it was. There are some demanding passages of which Lubotsky makes heavy weather (listen from the 1'34'' point of the first movement, for example) and like many other players he slows down considerably and very noticeably in the central scherzo from the marked—and elsewhere played—tempo of dotted crotchet = 104 in the notorious passage beginning at the 4'35'' mark, with its scales in double artificial harmonics. But if not quite in the class of Richter's, this is still a good performance which wears well and conveys the work's powerful feeling.

-- Christopher Headington, Gramphone [10/1989, reviewing Decca 417308]
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Sound Samples

Piano Concerto, Op.13: 1. Toccata
Piano Concerto, Op.13: 2. Waltz
Piano Concerto, Op.13: 3. Impromptu
Piano Concerto, Op.13: 4. March
Violin Concerto, Op.15: 1. Moderato con moto
Violin Concerto, Op.15: 2. Vivace
Violin Concerto, Op.15: 3. Passacaglia; Andante lento

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