Rubinstein Collection, Vol. 13: Grieg: Piano Concerto, Ballade & Lyric Pieces

October 10, 2000 | Format: MP3

$9.99
Also available in CD Format
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9:16
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1:14
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0:57
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1:13
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0:44
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1:33
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0:33
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0:42
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2:00
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0:42
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1:06
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0:28
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1:09
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2:49
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2:04
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1:19
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2:38
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1:38
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1:27
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1:11
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3:26
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1:34
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1:15
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0:40
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2:47

Product Details

  • Original Release Date: October 10, 2000
  • Release Date: October 18, 1999
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:06:30
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0014LX7XG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,384 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Hank Drake VINE VOICE on January 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Arthur Rubinstein was midway through his 75-year-long performing career before he learned the Grieg Concerto. In his autobiography, he reports that he was under the then-common impression that the Concerto was "cheap stuff" and not worthy of his time. RCA wanted to record him playing the piece, and Rubinstein's wife liked the Concerto. She purchased the score and placed it on his piano. Reading through it, he realized it "was easy to play and lovable." Thus began a love affair that was to continue until the pianist's retirement in 1976.
This performance, recorded in 1942, was the first of four recordings of the work Rubinstein made--there is an additional, filmed performance from 1975. One can take the technical finish of this brisk, polished performance for granted. Not to be underestimated is the orchestral contribution. Eugene Ormandy, one of the most underrated conductors of the 20th century, was an especially sympathetic and gifted accompanist. He matches Rubinstein phrase-for-phrase, rubato-for-rubato.
The solo works on this album are taken from the legendary "Rubinstein Plays Grieg" LP recorded in 1953. This recording had the unique distinction of remaining in the active catalogue until the demise of the LP in the late-1980s. The performances here are as fresh, direct, and lacking in phony sentiment as the Concerto. It is a pity that Rubinstein was never persuaded to re-record these solo pieces in stereo, as there are always those closed-minded individuals who will refuse to purchase a mono recording, no matter how great the performance is.
The recorded sound--except for a barely percepible change of pitch at 5'30" in the first movement of the Concerto--has been superbly restored.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fowler on January 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
First, I would like to thank Mr. Drake for his review of these, and many of the other, performances in the Rubinstein collection. I am listening to many of these from mp3 downloads and do not have access to the material accompanying the CDs, making the information in his reviews doubly appreciated.

These are outstanding performances! The Grieg piano concerto captures Rubinstein and Ormandy as already mature artists with many decades of outstanding performances ahead of them. Granted, the 1942 recording contains all the vintage trademarks of the time: mono not stereo, background hiss, and compressed dynamics. Nevertheless, the recording contains little murkiness, and the listener can clearly hear not only Mr. Rubinstein's divine playing, but the exquisite playing of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well (love those strings especially). The interplay between Ormandy's orchestra and Rubinstein's playing during the second movement creates one of the most magical renditions that I have heard. Despite the limitations of the recording, I was immediately transfixed by the performance.

Grieg's solo piano works provide much enjoyment as well. Rubinstein captures all their poetry and playfulness; he has a real affinity for the music. Moreover, these recordings show the great progress in recording techniques from 1942 to 1953. While still mono, there's little background hiss and much less dynamic compression than the 1942 recording.

For enthusiasts who demand stereo recordings, I would recommend Rubinstein's 1961 stereo recording of the Grieg piano concerto contained in volume 60 of the Rubinstein collection. It offers another first-rate interpretation by Rubinstein, this time accompanied by the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alfred Wallenstein.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a standout in the Rubinstein Collection because it is devoted to a single composer for whom Rubinstein had a special affinity, contains a rarity's definitive performance, and additionally preserves a permanent classic of the gramophone. Grieg was not just a miniaturist but an ambitious long-form composer as well, as demonstrated in the full-length PEER GYNT, the Piano Concerto, the song cycle HAUGTUSSA and, here, the BALLADE Op. 24.

This account of the concerto has always struck me as rather pedestrian, especially when compared to Rubinstein's later bestselling stereo remakes. The BALLADE, on the other hand, is major Grieg and too little known; this is its definitive recording. There were earlier historical accounts by no less than Leopold Godowsky and Percy Grainger but I daresay Rubinstein plays the work with less technical bravura and more forthrightness. The generous selection from the LYRIC PIECES is a permanent classic of the gramophone; witness its remarkable longevity in the RCA catalogue. Rubinstein has worthy would-be competitors here--Gieseking, Gilels and Andsnes--but to my ears Rubinstein's remains overall the most genial and poetic reading of these perennially popular gems.

Listeners insistent on modern sound may turn to Andsnes' 2007 EMI recording which replicates this program exactly with a new recording of the BALLADE but with a much stingier selection from the LYRIC PIECES. His recording of the Concerto is the best since Rubinstein's or Curzon's and should grace the catalogue just as long.
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By Crash on August 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This remastered CD is heaven. I have a very old, scratchy record and this new CD brings the pieces to life once again. Rubinstein is a master.
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