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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 23, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Austrian pianist Till Fellner teams up with conductor Kent Nagano and his Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal for a sensitive and meticulous interpretation of Beethoven's much-loved piano concertos Nos. 4 and 5, "Emperor". A perfectly balanced modern interpretation full of natural elasticity, shedding new lights on the musical characters of Beethoven's middle period.

Review

"Fellner executes runs of stroboscopic evenness and clarity. The weight dissolves and the architecture dances." -- Alex Ross, The New Yorker

"Till Fellner, the Austrian pianist, plays Beethoven like a poet" -- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Andante con moto
  3. Rondo. Vivace
  4. Allegro
  5. Adagio un poco moto
  6. Rondo. Allegro, ma non troppo


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal
  • Conductor: Kent Nagano
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM Records
  • ASIN: B0034IULXQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It took me a while to find a performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto that made me want to stop looking for a better one. I prefer these Till Fellner performances, and also his recording of Beethoven's 2nd and 3rd piano concertos with Neville Marriner/ Academy of St. Martin in the fields (on Erato), to any others that I've heard. A close contender is the box set of Rudolph Serkin's live performances with Rafael Kubelik & Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on Orfeo. I place it in second place mostly because the sound quality (remastered from the 1977 concerts) is not quite as good (but close). As far as the 4th Concerto is concerned, I've also tried Bronfman/ Zinman on Arte Nova, but Fellner in my opinion plays with more feeling. Stephen Kovacevich/ Colin Davis on Philips is good until the final movement of the 4th, which is played way too fast. Claudio Arrau's studio recording with Sir Colin Davis/ Staatskapelle Dresden on Philips is very good, but the tempi are much slower, which is hard to get used to if you're accustomed to more moderately paced performances. I completely agree with this more articulate professional opinion by Fanfaremag's Jerry Dubins:

"Words are inadequate to describe the sheer joy I experienced at listening to this disc. I'd long ago abandoned hope of ever hearing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto played as I've heard it in my head, and as it is played here.

"An ineffable poetry and grace illuminate their reading from within, such that I can honestly say this is how Beethoven's G-Major Piano Concerto was meant to sound. Every detail and nuance is traced with a touching tenderness and delicacy that is neither fussy nor prissy, but rather flows, as if unbidden, like an outpouring of radiant, seraphic song.
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Format: Audio CD
Till Fellner (1972-) is one of the most gifted pianists of the actual scene. He proves he has personality and total conviction. His tune is admirable and his phrasing impeccable. I have watched him in video playing Mozart's 23 and the performance with the Salzburg is authoritative and fulfilling.

These performances of Beethoven's Fourth and Fifth are indeed the most remarkable in the last decade. Ken Nagano at the podium is an admirable conductor, and the experience of this notable ensemble - musical inheritors of Charles Dutoit and Zubin Meta - easies to improve still more the whole result.

Recommended without hindrances.
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Format: Audio CD
38 year old Austrian pianist Till Fellner ' plays with scrupulous musicianship, purity of style, and sparkling keyboard command' - so agree the critics on both sides of the ocean. He is a dashing persona in live performance, always seeming at one with the composer whose works he is performing. This recording of Beethoven's Piano Concertos # 4 and #5 in the brief time since the release of this CD has become somewhat of the current gold standard among music aficionados, so clear is his concept and so perfectly balanced with the orchestral aspect of the works with Kent Nagano conducting the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal.

While there are many recordings of the complete set of five concertos of Beethoven by one pianist, so often there are hits and misses in sets such as those. Whether or not Fellner will fall into the same category is to be seen, but for now he is so secure in the performances of these two last concerti that they becomes models of interpretation. He has fire and passion when that is called for and he also has the poetry and genteel serenity when the passages enter that realm. His technique is staggering and yet does not pull attention to technique per se. He understands the conversation with the orchestra and is so very at one with the organic whole of each of these two favorite works that he makes them seem new.

Kent Nagano is a fine collaborator and the Montreal Symphony plays with supple finesse. Yes, we all have favorite pianists from the past that we hold as paragons of these works, but listen to Till Fellner and those considerations may just be altered! Grady Harp, January 11
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Till Fellner plays Beethoven exquisitely. The cadenza of the first movement of the 4th concerto is dazzling. Fellner is a credit to his mentor Alfred Brendel. I attended both of these concerts and find that the sound quality of the recording is quite comparable to the live performance, with good balance between the orchestra and the piano.
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Format: Audio CD
Even with five rave reviews here at Amazon, I approached this pairing of the Beethoven Piano Ctos. #4 and #5 with low expectations. Kent Nagano strikes me as another case of a bright young talent that has stagnated in middle age, and although my exposure to pianist Till Fellner is more limited, he has been a middle-of-the-roader when I have heard his recitals online. Do they surpass themselves here?

Perhaps they don't have to. The Fourth is more than competent on Fellner's part. In the wake of Perahia, this is well played, musical, and centrist. both soloist and orchestra proceed with respect for the score, and if that strikes me as faceless, clearly other listeners enjoy a no-surprise reading; certainly I can't complain about the lovely orchestral playing from the superb Bavarian Radio So; ECM's sonics are very fine, too, and I suspect that the taping was done by the orchestra itself, since their house label is known for its excellent sound. At just short of 19 min. the first movement is standard but feels a bit slack to me here and there. I'm not sure, but I also detect reduced vibrato in the strings (listen to the first tuttis after the piano makes its unaccompanied entrance.)

The slow movement works best, I think, if the orchestra is as powerful as possible to counter the quiet serenity of the piano. Here the effect is moderate on the part of both. the finale is quite tricky to hold together if taken as fast as Beethoven's "vivace" implies. Nagano, like many other conductors, slow the pace to moderato so that nothing goes amiss. I can't fault him, but the result is not very exciting, and Fellner keeps so close to the middle of the road that one wonders if there's a white stripe painted on the piano.
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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5
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