- Performer: Friedrich Gulda
- Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
- Conductor: Horst Stein
- Composer: L.V. Beethoven
- Audio CD (May 13, 2008)
- Number of Discs: 3
- Label: Brilliant Classics
- ASIN: B0016KHATM
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,060 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5
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Top Customer Reviews
I must have heard dozens of Concerti cycles and say that Horst Stein's and Gulda's are the most homogenous set recorded. They are so attuned to each other and balanced that NEVER does the piano overtake the orchestra or vice versa!
But at the same time Gulda's playing is the most free and spontaneous I've ever heard...so much so that I often feel that these are live performances (which they are not)! He knows these pieces so "inside and out" that he plays as if he's improvising, full of humor and wit!
The Vienna Philharmonic plays smoothly and beautifully (as always), and the original Decca sound is very good.
It's a real treat to listen to these performances. A real bonus on this set comes with a piano rendition of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, by a virtual unknown pianist, conductor and orchestra! A magical performance that stops time!
From Schnabel to Kempff to Rubinstein to Serkin to Brendel to Bronfman to Aimard to Kissin to Lang Lang, multiple styles and infinitely differing interpretative approaches are being offered.
Gulda's Beethoven concerti are much more 'straightforward', naturalistic, vigorous and, above all, very very refined.
Unlike his solo sonatas, Beethoven's piano concerti offer a realm of composition that forecasts Brahms's integration of the solo and the tutti. Stein and Gulda perform here like hand in glove. The ethereal sounding VPO matches the soloist's and conductor's demand on virtually every turn. Gulda's musicality is well demonstrated in these recordings - his ability to respond and merge with the orchestra, tip-toeing on every interplay with utter balance and finesse. In this respect, this recording actually surpassed, IMHV, the set by Ferdinand Leitner and Wilhelm Kempff with the BPO. (Though may not be so with Kempff's set with van Kampen, of which I have NOT heard all five).
Gulda, controversies apart, was certainly a cult figure in Beethoven's works. It was a great shame that owing to personality clashes he had not collaborated much with big names like Herbert von Karajan, who virtually dominated the classical discography world, leaving Gulda's recordings of his brilliant performances to odd pieces and bits. This set of complete Beethoven piano concerti by Gulda is certainly one of the most valuable in terms of musical legacy by this far too underrated maestro of the keyboard.
Friedrich Gulda fully lived up to his reputation of the 'Beethoven Ring' honorian, and this cycle of Beethoven's concertos is nothing less than a monumental record of his superb artistry.
I wondered why other 'big name' conductors like Karajan did not record this cycle with Gulda, but upon reading some information about Gulda and Karajan's sour relationship, things fell into place.
As Pierre Fournier reportedly once said to Karajan: 'if you fall out with Gulda, the loss would be on your side'.
Well, who cares if HvK did collaborate with Gulda if Gulda and Horst Stein managed to come up with such good performances?
Fournier's words were prophetic indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautuful rendition of Beethoven concertos. So glad I purchased this. Hard to stop listening. Certainly, music at its most sublime.Published on January 5, 2013 by Brenda K. Rowan
Supposedly it was Schnabel who said, I believe in reference to some Beethoven, that the music was greater than it could ever be played. Read morePublished on January 25, 2012 by scholarboy