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Grieg, Schumann: Piano Concertos / Kovacevich, Davis

Grieg / Kovacevic / Bbc So / Davis
Release Date: 09/28/2010 
Label:  Newton Classics   Catalog #: 8802019   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Edvard GriegRobert Schumann
Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Who would have thought the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos could come up as alive with both opulent and delicate emotional fervour as on the day they were written? Kovacevich’s virtuosity is both inclusive and discreet, and his Grieg Concerto remains among the finest on record.

Who would have thought the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos could come up as fresh as paint, as alive with both opulent and delicate emotional fervour as on the day they were written? Stephen Kovacevich’s Philips recording, dating from 1970-1, has been tirelessly celebrated for its freshness and poetic vitality, and it remains a benchmark offering.

True, some may find Kovacevich’s Schumann too polite, bathed as it were in an
Read more often pale and silvery light rather than in more brilliant hues. Certainly he would be more characterful, even confrontational today. Yet his virtuosity is both inclusive and discreet, and his Grieg Concerto remains among the finest on record. The cadenza flashes fire with the best of them and in the central Adagio his playing has all the luminous magic lacking in Michelangeli’s otherwise masterly performance on his recent BBC archive CD.

Indeed, there is little of the Prussian officer about Kovacevich, and as he makes the final quasi presto dance on air you may well wonder when you have heard a performance of greater skill and affection; enough to make Brendel (who, according to Richter, once described Grieg’s music as suitable for chamber maids) eat his words.

Sir Colin Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are beautifully sensitive to their soloist’s subtle and acute musicianship, and the transfers have come up more than successfully. This is a treasurable reissue.

-- Gramophone [8/2001]
reviewing a previous reissue of this recording, Philips 464702
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
Date of Recording: 01/1971 
Venue:  Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London 
Length: 29 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1970 
Venue:  Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London 
Length: 30 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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