Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor"
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||Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E-Flat Major "Emperor": I. Allegro||Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rudolf Serkin & Seiji Ozawa||21:27||Album Only||View In iTunes|
||Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E-Flat Major "Emperor": II. Adagio un poco mosso||Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rudolf Serkin & Seiji Ozawa||19:40||Album Only||View In iTunes|
||Concerto for Piano No. 5 in E-Flat Major "Emperor": III. Rondo: Allegro||Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rudolf Serkin & Seiji Ozawa||11:22||Album Only||View In iTunes|
Grandeur and magnificence
This is an extraordinary performance. We know our Serkin well; he is a deep and searching thinker at the keyboard; but for all sorts of reasons his recordings never seemed to give the best of him - several potential great ones spoilt by bad (boxy, wiry) recordings, and so on: there always seemed to be half a dozen preferable versions. Sigh of relief: at last a recording worthy of this great artist. Strange to relate that Seiji Ozawa should be the man to provide an orchestral canvas unequalled in its spread, power and glorious momentum; and it seems that Serkin caught fire, for he plays like a man in the throes of inspiration that is normally reserved for live concerts. Here is, for my money, the grandeur and magnificence that typify Beethoven's Emperor Concerto for me. It is also a deep romantic vision, witness the Adagio which is the slowest on records, but on that very account moving beyond description. Whoever packaged this album, made a grotesque blunder, which does not however (thank Heavens) affect your enjoyment. You get the final movement twice! Looking at the 19 minutes for the Adagio, there is obviously a mistake here; and indeed movements 2 and 3 are run together, and then the finale repeated in the third track! An unexpected encore! In sum: whatever version you own, and maybe looking for another, this is a top recommendation. If you only wish to have one, and 100% representative of Beethoven's concerto, look no farther afield. The idea of a definitive performance is not, of course, tenable; but the idea of a musical experience that you might treasure for life is altogether apt. This is such a performance.
Formed: 22 October 1881 in Boston, MA
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