Ultimate Piano Concertos: The Essential Masterpieces

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Unlike many budget compilations that offer only selected movements or brief excerpts, Decca's Ultimate Piano Concertos: The Essential Masterpieces presents 10 masterworks in their entirety on five CDs, giving concerto fans a satisfying listening experience. Granted, these reissues are not audiophile recordings, nor are the performers familiar in every case; but for analog recordings from the 1950s to the 1970s, and digital recordings from the 1980s, the sound is quite good, and the performers are never less than fine, though in many instances, they are indeed exceptional. These concertos are at the top of most virtuoso pianists' lists, and though fashions change, all of...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Unlike many budget compilations that offer only selected movements or brief excerpts, Decca's Ultimate Piano Concertos: The Essential Masterpieces presents 10 masterworks in their entirety on five CDs, giving concerto fans a satisfying listening experience. Granted, these reissues are not audiophile recordings, nor are the performers familiar in every case; but for analog recordings from the 1950s to the 1970s, and digital recordings from the 1980s, the sound is quite good, and the performers are never less than fine, though in many instances, they are indeed exceptional. These concertos are at the top of most virtuoso pianists' lists, and though fashions change, all of these concertos have staying power and are regularly played in competitions around the world. Arguably the two most popular concertos are presented on the first disc, with Viktoria Postnikova performing Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor" and Cristina Ortiz playing Rachmaninov's "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor"; both recordings are digital and offer great presence and clarity of details, as will be found on disc 2 in Jorge Bolet's dynamic renditions of Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A minor" and Schumann's "Piano Concerto in A minor." Disc 3 features the oldest recordings with the murkiest sound, but Clifford Curzon's performances of Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major" and the "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Emperor," are still enjoyable for their great musicality and technical brilliance. Stephen Kovacevich's crystal-clear performances of Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, Elvira Madigan," and the "Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major" make disc 4 a delight, while Claudio Arrau's recordings on disc 5 of Chopin's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor" and the "Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor" are moving classics that fully deserve inclusion and have excellent sound for their age. This box set is a treasure trove that many will find enriching, and despite its few flaws, it will pay dividends far beyond its cost-cutter price.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/11/2008
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947801085
  • Catalog Number: 001079202
  • Sales rank: 132

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky & Vienna Symphony Orchestra (38:34)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 - Sergey Rachmaninov & Moshe Atzmon (33:16)
Disc 2
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 - Edvard Grieg & Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (31:51)
  2. 2 Rondo capriccioso, for piano in E major, Op. 14 - Jorge Bolet & Felix Mendelssohn (6:57)
  3. 5–7 Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 - Robert Schumann & Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (32:47)
Disc 3
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (33:53)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major ("Emperor"), Op. 73 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (38:54)
Disc 4
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Colin Davis (27:55)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Colin Davis (31:24)
Disc 5
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, CT. 47 - Frédéric Chopin & Claudio Arrau (42:31)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, CT. 48 - Frédéric Chopin & Claudio Arrau (34:11)
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