MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Plain text for smartphones
and printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 (1845) [31:38]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 (1868) [31:04]
Lyric Pieces, Op. 43: No. 5 (Erotik) [3:25]; No. 5 (Melankoli) [3:41]
Lyric Pieces, Op. 68: No. 5 (Bådnlåt) [3:15]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Images, Book 1: No. 1, Reflets dans l’eau [4:56]
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano)
Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala/Antonio Pedrotti (Schumann), Alceo Galliera (Grieg).
rec. 4 September 1942, Milan (Schumann); 2 September 1942, Milan (Grieg concerto); 6 September 1942, Milan (Erotik); December 1939-January 1940, Milan (Melankoli, Bådnlåt); 27 October 1948, Abbey Road Studios, London (Debussy). ADD
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111396 [77:58] 

Experience Classicsonline

This disc is no. 3 in the Naxos series Great Pianists: Michelangeli. The familiar coupling of the Grieg and Schumann concertos is supplemented with three of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces and from the Debussy Images. Michelangeli was always very selective about his repertoire, and tended to re-record favourite works several times. In the case of the Schumann, he recorded this another three times to my knowledge, in 1955, 1956 and 1984. He essayed the Grieg again in 1965. The Debussy track gives a fascinating preview of his famous recording from the 1970s, followed by those of 1982 and 1993. All the Grieg and Schumann recordings mentioned were live performances, so this disc, surprisingly, documents his only studio recordings of these concertos.
The Schumann opens quite broadly, becoming more lively as the movement progresses. The width of the tempo fluctuations mark this as a performance somewhat of the old school. The soloist breaks several chords in a way which would not be heard nowadays. Michelangeli’s approach is, however, always individual, and this never feels routine. The textures often recall chamber music, with sensitive duetting between the soloist and wind principals. After the intensity of the first movement, the Intermezzo can be rather a let-down; on this occasion Michelangeli plays it with enough intensity and projection to make it more interesting than it often seems. The finale is not taken too fast, but is allowed to breathe. Michelangeli’s pianism is superb throughout, with wonderful clarity of articulation and intuitive phrasing that never seems hurried. The recording is a bit constricted at the tuttis, with a little surface swish in the Intermezzo, but the treble has enough sparkle to capture Michelangeli’s consistently attractive tone.
The solo flourish at the beginning of the Grieg is crisply dispatched, with a pronounced rallentando for the second subject. The Adagio is tenderly built by Galliera, but the horn solo is a bit muffled. The finale has a coiled rhythmic tautness. The slower episodes are again quite a bit slower, but the music never sags. The piano, however, has gone a bit out of tune by the time we get to the return of the main theme. From the extraverted mood of the outer movements to the more contemplative slow movement, the work’s wide emotional range is strongly projected by Michelangeli. His imperious technical command is always evident, and the dynamics are carefully shaped without sounding calculated. Both Pedrotti and Galliera work up quite a bit of tension in their supporting roles, and the La Scala orchestra plays well. The piano sound is more realistic in the Grieg, but in both cases the sound is very acceptable for the period, with just a little distortion at the tuttis. The Lyric Pieces are perhaps a little bit clinical; they and the Debussy, however, give further evidence of Michelangeli’s tonal variety and cultivated phrasing.
Like Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter recorded the Schumann concerto several times. His 1975 Monte Carlo recording is a minute faster in the first two movements, although the timing of the finale is almost identical to Michelangeli’s. The Grieg coupling is quicker also, again by about a minute for each of the movements. Richter’s performances are more “modern”, both in terms of the recorded sound, and in the less extreme tempo fluctuations within the outer movements. Listening to these performances made me realise the similarities between these great artists. Both can be relied upon to turn in performances of the utmost virtuosity and range of tonal colour. Each has a distinctive view of the work, which can be executed rather rigidly. Neither is notable for spontaneity.
Michelangeli’s early accounts of the Grieg and Schumann concertos have sensitivity, fantasy and authority in a near-ideal combination.  

Guy Aron 

Masterwork Index: Grieg concerto ~~ Schumann concerto

Naxos Historical series: Michelangeli

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from:

























































































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


      Composer surveys
      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

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


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

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



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

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
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
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
Web Ring
Translation Service

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

Error processing SSI file