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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor Op.37
Marguerite Long (piano)
Paris Conservatoire Orchestra [Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire], recorded 1939
Triple Concerto, for Violin, Cello and Piano Op.56
Ricardo Odnoposoff (violin)
Stefan Auber (cello)
Angelica Morales (piano)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded 1937
Felix Weingartner
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110878 [68.35]


Naxos’s Weingartner series continues very usefully on its way with this Concerto disc. The Triple Concerto is a discographic first, whereas the C minor concerto had long been beaten by the very late acoustic recorded by the Australian William Murdoch with the Hallé (sheltering under the soubriquet of ‘An Orchestra’ for diverse reasons) under Sir Hamilton Harty. For the concerto Weingartner was paired with the mercurial Marguerite Long. The opening is brisk, rhythmically crisp and incisively full of momentum. The piano is up-front in the recorded perspective and we can savour her capricious phrasing and rallentandi, with Weingartner encouraging some pliant string moulding and warmly yielding tone. There is a sense of real dialogue between soloist and orchestra even though there are moments when left-hand detail is submerged. Certainly there is something of a studied quality to some of Long’s playing, quite choppy as well, but against that she does make explicit the harmonic implications in a most keen and unusual way. She plays the Moscheles cadenza. The slow movement is warm and songful but a bit strait-laced and with some superficial sounding passagework whilst the finale is deft if again rather strict, except for an idiosyncratic caesura. The copies derive from French Columbia laminates and are rather noisy but the ear adjusts quickly.

The Triple Concerto features three youthful contemporaries; Ricardo Odnoposoff, Flesch student and Ysaÿe Competition prize winner, cellist Stefan Auber who was later to become a member of the Kolisch Quartet and pianist Angelica Morales, Mexican-born, a Petri student and one of Emil von Sauer’s wives (she’d also studied with him). Auber bears the brunt of difficulty in this work, maintaining a good legato and coping with the notorious demands with admirable sang froid, even if his tone can incline to insistence now and then. His colleagues prove good foils, Morales especially, and Weingartner corrals things with practised wit. Copies and transfer are fine.

There are competing versions of these famous recordings, of course. Andante, for example has a Beethoven Concertos set, of which the Marguerite Long forms a part, and Pearl has released the Triple coupled with the Weingartner Hammerklavier orchestration. But the former is part of a set and thus unwieldy, perhaps, for those most concerned with Weingartner. So a warm welcome to the latest in this instructive series from Naxos.

Jonathan Woolf


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