Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Concerto No. 5; Choral Fantasia

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Composer(s):
Beethoven
Works:
Piano Concerto No. 3; Piano Concerto No. 4; Piano Concerto No. 5; Choral Fantasia
Performer:
Julius Katchen (piano)LSO & Chorus/Piero Gamba
Label:
Decca
Catalogue Number:
440 839-2 ADD (1959-65)
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Sound:
starstarstarstarstar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Julius Katchen was best known for his Brahms, but his pianism – muscular yet agile and sensitive – was also ideal for Beethoven. The highlight here is a superb ‘Emperor’, Katchen in total control but never over-careful. The energised LSO is suitably exuberant, but risks ungainliness in No. 4’s Andante, where stridency threatens the delicate balance between orchestra and soloist. Also in the G major Concerto, Katchen opts for a first-movement cadenza whose rampant virtuosity is like a whirlpool in a millpond. No. 3 is another hit, though, and the Choral Fantasia, which in some hands sounds like an expendable footnote to the Ninth Symphony, is stunning. Christopher Wood
Mahler/Strauss
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