Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Paul Lewis and Jirí Belohlávek have produced a set of the Beethoven piano concertos that puts them closer to their Classical-era roots while conveying a sense of excitement in Beethoven's daring and innovative writing. This is not a boldly stated and theatrically dramatic reading of these works; one might say it's conservative, but not so much so that the listener can't help being moved by the rousing ending of the "Emperor Concerto" or caught up in the energy of the opening movement of the "Concerto No. 3." Lewis gives the slow movements elegance and gracefulness with a touch that is wonderfully legato. Yet he knows how to change his articulation to help change the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
Paul Lewis and Jirí Belohlávek have produced a set of the Beethoven piano concertos that puts them closer to their Classical-era roots while conveying a sense of excitement in Beethoven's daring and innovative writing. This is not a boldly stated and theatrically dramatic reading of these works; one might say it's conservative, but not so much so that the listener can't help being moved by the rousing ending of the "Emperor Concerto" or caught up in the energy of the opening movement of the "Concerto No. 3." Lewis gives the slow movements elegance and gracefulness with a touch that is wonderfully legato. Yet he knows how to change his articulation to help change the character and shape of each phrase throughout the concertos, adding interest to the music without overdoing any drama. He and Belohlávek work well together in this, neither one being indulgent, and with Belohlávek keeping the orchestral colors very much in line with the piano. Their interpretation sounds completely natural to Beethoven's style, from the first to the last concerto. Harmonia Mundi's sound is very clear and present, and equally balanced between the orchestra and piano.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Exceptionally fine. These are freshly considered, elegant and engrossing performances.... [Lewis] brings a wonderful balance of integrity and imagination to his Beethoven playing. He does not dazzle you with virtuosity. His nimble and articulate finger work is always at the service of his musical ideas: to me the definition of good technique. While utterly respectful of the scores, he plays with such spontaneity that these familiar staples seem newly astonishing, qualities equally conveyed by Mr. Belohlavek, the Czech-born chief conductor of the BBC Symphony, and his inspired players.... Though the catalog of Beethoven concerto recordings is crowded, this new set is an exciting addition.
Gramophone - James Inverne
[September 2010 Recording of the Month] A cycle that feels thought about as well as lived in the moment. Which is quite a feat.

[September 2010 Recording of the Month] A cycle that feels thought about as well as lived in the moment. Which is quite a feat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/10/2010
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • UPC: 794881966226
  • Catalog Number: 902053
  • Sales rank: 17,440

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15 - Ludwig van Beethoven & BBC Symphony Orchestra (38:18)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 - Ludwig van Beethoven & BBC Symphony Orchestra (29:25)
Disc 2
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 - Ludwig van Beethoven & BBC Symphony Orchestra (36:04)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 - Ludwig van Beethoven & BBC Symphony Orchestra (33:23)
Disc 3
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major ("Emperor"), Op. 73 - Ludwig van Beethoven & BBC Symphony Orchestra (38:50)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul Lewis Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Solid, Poetic Beethoven Cycle

    Paul Lewis is an inordinately gifted pianist, that performer who places the composer and the work above idiosyncrasies of the performer. There may not be many moments of explosions or droll humor that draw attention to these performances of the five Beethoven Piano Concerti and for this listener that is a positive aspect. What Paul Lewis, in collaboration with Jirí Belohlávek conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, gives us here is simply the professional and sensitive readings of Beethoven's works unfettered by superimposed edgy ideas. Few people who follow classical music in both performance and recordings can say they don't have 'favorite' performers, either because of style or execution of other ties with where they were when they encountered specific favored interpretations: many of us will swear by Serkin or Brendel, Arrau, Goode, Rubinstein, Vengerov etc and that is healthy. But to measure a new recording by an established pianist to these personal standards is not altogether fair. Many great pianists have excelled with either one or all of these often performed works. Now we have another great pianist bringing his insight and selfless approach to these great concerti. What Paul Lewis accomplishes in bringing off the entire cycle is a freshness that is not due to altering the composer's intentions but instead to restoring Beethoven's apparent markings, absorbing the manner and mood of the time each was composed. Lewis' technique is flawless: the rapid passages in each concerto are tossed off with seeming abandon but with concurrent finite attention to detail, while the slow movements reveal a pianist with deeply felt emotions - the conversation in the Andante of the 4th between the languid piano and the disruptive orchestral remarks provides some of the most moving moments in this set. For this listener, long drawn to repeating listenings of favorite older CDs, this cycle renews the glory of these works. This is Beethoven well served by an artist and a conductor who communicate well the majesty of Beethoven's compositions. And for the moment this cycle has become the one of choice - for so many reasons. Grady Harp

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    Posted October 11, 2010

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    Posted October 8, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews