Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete Piano Concertos played by Yefim Bronfman together with Tonhalle Orchester Zurich / David Zinman
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op 15 [37:44]
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op 19 [29:15]
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op 37 [34:17]
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op 58 [32:43]
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op 73 [37:33]
Choral Fantasia in C minor, Op 80 [19:12]
Meeresstille und glüchliche Fahrt in D, Op 112 [7:03]
Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Tonhalle Orchester Zurich/David Zinman
rec. Tonhalle, Zurich, Switzerland
3 CDs: 66:59 + 67:00 + 63:48
This is one of the easiest choices in the catalogue. Yefim Bronfman and David Zinman teamed up just ten years ago to deliver an extraordinary Beethoven concerto cycle, characterized by fleet tempos, freshness and an utter lack of self-aggrandizement. Zinman had just recorded the nine symphonies, in interpretations somewhat influenced by historical evidence about performances in Beethoven’s time. That influence shows a little in the early concertos here, which have rarely sounded so unpretentious and, well, classical.
Great successes include No. 3, the first movement of which is freed from the recent trend of making it as long, slow, doom-laden and “profound” as possible; and the First Concerto, of which this is my favourite recording. That’s partly because Yefim Bronfman uses Beethoven’s final, absolutely massive (5-minute) cadenza in the first movement, and his solo brings down the house. It’s incredible. David Zinman energises the Zurich orchestra to dig into their parts with extra attention to detail, especially important in the Second Concerto, which isn’t always this interesting to hear.
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