£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


 REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: Crotchet


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)
Piano Concerto No.4 in G, op.58 (1808) [34:21]
Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat, Emperor, op.73 (1809) [39:50]
Mario Galeani (piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Grzegorz Nowak
rec. 18-19 September 2007, Cadogan Hall, London. DDD
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA RPOSP013 [74:11]
Experience Classicsonline


In the fortnight before receiving this disk for review I attended four concerts by the RPO under Nowak, at the Cadogan Hall, where the RPO is in residence and where this disk was recorded. These included four concertos by Mozart and the final four Dvořák symphonies. They were excellent performances, with superb playing and direction. Thus I was most pleased to find this disk in a parcel on my doormat.

The final two piano concertos of Beethoven pose many problems both for conductor and pianist. The Fourth appears to be lyrical and almost without incident, whilst the Fifth is full of fire, passion and drama. But both include elements of the other. The Fourth starts with the solo piano playing gently, giving the first theme, which is immediately repeated by the orchestra. Thereafter an Allegro moderato unfolds, over a large time-span, with music both gentle and spirited. The drama, such as it is, comes from the musical conflict, not from the soloist versus orchestra idea of a concerto. This performance tends towards the moderato rather than the allegro, and also encompasses slower tempi for certain moments of lyricism. To me, it feels slightly too slow, but at least it never becomes ponderous. The slow movement is well nigh perfect, the balance between piano and strings is very good, and Galeani’s responses to the urgency of the orchestra are very well placed. The finale does however seem too glib, not too fast but still it feels rushed, and there’s no real relaxation throughout the movement. As a performance it failed to satisfy me for there was a sameness almost throughout, with little variety of timbre and shading. And, perhaps, the view of the music is too romantic. This isn’t Tchaikovsky, but Beethoven in a state of change, moving from the classical to the young romantic.

The Fifth Concerto can stand a more romantic interpretation and it gets it. Both Galeani and Nowak seem happier here for the music allows for a more expansive view. However, there is some very obtrusive, and rather banal, use of rubato from the soloist which instead of “robbing time”, as rubato is supposed to do, makes for a momentary gap in the music. There is also too much heavy-handedness in the octave passages, more colour is required here to raise the passages from the ordinary to the virtuoso outbursts they are supposed to be. By the time we reached the recapitulation of the first movement the recorded sound of the piano was beginning to annoy me for it has been recorded far too closely, leaving the orchestra rather recessed. The Cadogan Hall, one of London’s newest concert halls, has a superb acoustic and I have heard the RPO there many times over the last two or three years and I have never found the balance between piano and orchestra to be anything but near perfect. There is a nice feel of the hall in this recording but I do sense that, for some reason, the engineer has favoured the soloist at the expense of the orchestra.

Ultimately, although there is some good playing here, I found these two performances unsatisfying for they are unconvincing as both performances and interpretations. For the Fourth Concerto I have had the most pleasure from the 1947 Clara Haskil recording, with the London Philharmonic under Carlo Zecchi (London/Decca Historic Series 425968, coupled with Schumann’s Concerto with Lipatti and the Suisse Romande Orchestra under Ernest Ansermet) for it is full of poetry and deep love for the music. This is an essential performance which should be on all CD shelves. Alternatively Solomon on Testament (1220 - coupled with the Third Concerto with the Philharmonia under Cluytens) offers an aristocratic performance. If you prefer a more modern recording, which I can understand, I find John Lill and Julius Katchen very reliable, in very good 1960s and 1970s sound. For the Fifth Concerto, Solomon again (Testament SBT 1221 with the Philharmonia under Herbert Menges, coupled with two Mozart sonatas) for his unerring intelligence, and, again, Lill and Katchen. For me, these older performances seem more rounded and complete than many which have been committed to CD in the past twenty years. There are many who will disagree and, in the end, the performance you choose must be your choice and satisfy your musical taste. All a critic can do is help point the way, to misquote Wilfred Owen!

Bob Briggs  

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.