One of the most grown-up review sites around


2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Bax Piano Music


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 [27:14]
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15 [33:27]
Martha Argerich (piano)
Mito Chamber Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa
rec. live, Art Tower Mito, Mito City, Ibaraki, Japan, 2017
DECCA CLASSICS 4832566 [60:41]

The Ozawa/Argerich collaboration is a class act. It dates back to 40 years ago in October 1979 when the two ‘star performers’ first appeared together. This was the pianist’s sensational Boston debut in Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. Although over the intervening years the two have performed together, becoming close friends along the way, this latest release from Decca Classics is their first official recording. The Mito Chamber Orchestra was established in 1990 and the players are the some of the finest and best, hand-picked from far and wide. I was amazed, seeing a centrefold photo of them in the booklet, how small and intimate a group they look. You wouldn’t guess listening to the wonderful sound they produce. 

Both works are what I would describe as upbeat and genial. In the Symphony Ozawa chooses comfortable tempi but manages to maintain the energy in the outer movements. The second movement is as fine as any performance I’ve ever heard. In some readings the ‘con moto’ element is sadly missing, but not so here. There’s a sprightly charm, and at no time does the music sag. The Menuetto is ebullient and rhythmically bracing. Optimistic and invigorating positivity inform the finale. The Mito players are very responsive to Ozawa’s inspirational direction.

The Piano Concerto is no less energized and life enhancing. Once again, the tempi that Ozawa sets are nicely paced. The first movement is tautly rhythmical with a true sense of heroic grandeur. At 76, Argerich’s technique still retains its astonishing brilliance. Dazzling fingerwork, sensitive pedalling and superb dynamic control are the order of the day. In the slow movement both pianist and players luxuriate in the beguiling lyricism of the music. Argerich’s tone is ravishing, and her phrasing ardent and tender. The thrilling finale sparkles with verve and vigour, with the audience registering their approval with enthusiastic applause and thunderous ‘bravos’ at the end.

Much of the success of these performances resides in the fact that they were taped live in January and May 2017. Both artists seem to respond well to the atmosphere and electricity of the live event. The performances are very fresh and evolve spontaneously. Added to that, the engineers have worked wonders with the sound, which is well-balanced, airy and detailed. In the concerto, the piano sits perfectly in the overall sound picture. I hope this will be the start of further collaborations - perhaps Argerich may work her way through the five piano concertos, each paired with one of the composer's symphonies. I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Stephen Greenbank
 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger