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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Op.37
Marguerite Long (piano)
Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/Felix Weingartner
Rec. Paris, 10 June 1939
Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C minor
Ricardo Odnoposoff (violin)
Stefan Auber (cello)
Angelica Morales (piano)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Felix Weingartner
Rec. Vienna, 20/21 October 1937
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110878 [68.35]


This addition to the Naxos ‘Great Conductors’ series does not disappoint. The partnership between Weingartner (1863-1942) and Marguerite Long in the C minor Concerto works well, with sensitive balance between the supportive warm orchestral sound and the personal approach of the pianist. The first movement is taken at an appropriate pace and moves along with some style. In spite of the limitations of the small hall used for the recording the piano sound is in the foreground and allows the listener to enjoy the soloist’s technique. Long plays the cadenza written by Beethoven’s contemporary Ignaz Moscheles. The Largo is thoughtful and poetic, with a real sense of unity between orchestra and soloist, and the Rondo Allegro brings the work to a satisfying conclusion, although there is a brief moment of pianistic bravura, which interrupts the movement. The recording is comparatively noisy but the music soon overcomes this.

The Triple Concerto provided Weingartner with three near contemporaries in this, the first recording of the work. Although most of the complexity of the concerto falls on the cello, the other instruments contribute well to the overall sound. Stefan Auber plays his sometimes daunting role with considerable panache, although the cello sound is occasionally more insistently to the fore than that of the other soloists. Morales balances well with her fellow soloists, and demonstrates her individual skills appropriately. I did have some occasional problems with Odnoposoff’s intonation, but it did not affect my overall enjoyment.  Weingartner has no problems with controlling and encouraging the orchestral sound, as well as providing a well-rounded interpretation.  Those who wish to add to their knowledge and appreciation of Weingartner should be well satisfied with this CD.

There are other ‘historic’ recordings of both works, Andante has the same soloist in the C minor Concerto as part of a Beethoven Concertos collection, and Pearl includes the Triple together with the Weingartner Hammerklavier orchestration.

This addition to the Naxos series is excellent artistic value for anyone who already values Weingartner’s Beethoven interpretations, or who just wants an example of fine orchestral and solo artistry from the last century.

Bob Bamlett

 See also reviews by Jonathan Woolf and Colin Clarke

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