Monthly Archives: November 2015

Beethoven Piano Concertos: Nos. 1–5 • Richard Goode, Iván Fischer

Iván Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra plays with all the energy and power necessary to turn in spectacular performances of these Beethoven concertos. Richard Goode’s playing suits Fischer’s approach, and these two gifted musicians give us one of the most lyrical and powerful interpretations of the five piano concertos in the current catalogue. What separates these recordings from others that I admire — Rudolf Serkin’s clarity and precision and Murray Perahia’s thoughtful probity — is their unadulterated brio. Continue reading

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Bruckner Symphony No. 5 – Günter Wand

From the start of this thrilling and majestic live performance, we know that we are in far fine fettle. My initial and continuing assessment is that Günter Wänd’s Bruckner Fifth for RCA Victor Red Seal belongs to the upper echelons of Bruckner Fifths.

The first measures stretch with emotion, almost like a dirge or church hymn. Particularly appealing are the string tremolos that anticipate the main theme and are fraught with emotion. And it’s this emotion that unlocks the measure of the riddle of this symphony, for the greatest moments in Bruckner’s music are private and internal — the mindscape of a deeply spiritual man almost medieval by nature and out of step with his times. Continue reading

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