Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Choral Fantasy, etc.

Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Choral Fantasy, etc.

by Pierre-Laurent Aimard
     
 
Thanks to his spectacular Ligeti and Messiaen recordings, Pierre-Laurent Aimard first attracted a following among connoisseurs of new music. But his 2003 set of the Beethoven piano concertos announced that he has plenty to say about the standard repertoire, too. Now he rejoins conductor Nikolaus

Overview

Thanks to his spectacular Ligeti and Messiaen recordings, Pierre-Laurent Aimard first attracted a following among connoisseurs of new music. But his 2003 set of the Beethoven piano concertos announced that he has plenty to say about the standard repertoire, too. Now he rejoins conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt for a companion volume featuring more Beethoven, and the results are just as stimulating. The main course is the "Triple" Concerto, a product of Beethoven's "heroic" period, composed between the "Eroica" Symphony and the "Appassionata" Sonata (which is another Aimard specialty, featured on his live Carnegie Hall recital disc). In the wrong hands, the concerto can seem a trifle long-winded, but that's never an issue here; Aimard, violinist Thomas Zehetmair, and cellist Clemens Hagen come through with an excitingly stormy interpretation (far more so as a whole than the recent rendition by Martha Argerich and friends). Harnoncourt's superb sense of pacing is crucial, but so is the fact that both Hagen (of the Hagen Quartet) and Zehetmair (of the Zehetmair Quartet) are distinguished performers of chamber music -- accounting for the unusually strong and intimate bond these three soloists have forged. Aimard has the spotlight to himself for the remainder of the disc. The Rondo in B-flat for Piano and Orchestra is a rarity: a sparkling work from Beethoven's youth that Aimard attacks with high spirits and a crystalline technique. But the ultimate highlight arrives with the opening minutes of the "Choral" Fantasy, a rhapsodic prelude for unaccompanied piano, reportedly improvised by Beethoven at its premiere. Aimard's absorbing take on this music reminds us of Beethoven's visionary side -- the side to which this visionary pianist is naturally most strongly drawn.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - James R. Oestreich
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Thomas Zehetmair and Clemens Hagen, interpreters as individualistic as they are skilled, join the strong-willed Nikolaus Harnoncourt in a probing performance [of the Concerto] that takes nothing for granted stylistically.
Gramophone - Rob Cowan
[November 2004 CD of the Month] This is a big, affable, blustery Triple, the soloists completing the sound canvas rather than dominating it, a genuine collaborative effort.... As 'feel-good' Beethoven programmes go, this is about as enjoyable as it gets, though a high level of musical insight further enhances one's pleasure.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/2004
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0825646060221
catalogNumber:
60602

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Concerto for piano, violin, cello & orchestra in C major ("Triple Concerto"), Op. 56  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Pierre-Laurent Aimard  -  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  - Clemens Hagen  - Nikolaus Harnoncourt  - Thomas Zehetmair
  2. Rondo for piano & orchestra in B flat major, WoO 6  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Pierre-Laurent Aimard  -  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  - Nikolaus Harnoncourt
  3. Fantasia for piano, chorus, and orchestra ("Choral Fantasy"), Op. 80  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Pierre-Laurent Aimard  -  Arnold Schoenberg Choir  -  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  - Nikolaus Harnoncourt  - Erwin Ortner

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