The works of some composers, like Villa-Lobos, do not receive the attention they deserve. This double CD with the five piano concertos by Villa-Lobos is sheer delight. The music is romantic and original. The performance of the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra, under Miguel Gomez-Martinez, is more than good. The pianist, Cristina Ortiz, plays in a flawless manner, well integrated with the orchestra. The sound quality of the recording is excellent.
In a century that seemed to turn it's back on the aspirations of 19th century composers, some musicians kept the Romantic tradition of the composer/virtuoso alive well into the 20th century. Perhaps the most important and forward thinking 20th century virtuoso pianist and composer was Serge Prokofiev. Unlike his fellow Russian, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev created a significant body of virtuoso pieces to the piano literature, which also reflected his modernist sensibilities. Among the strongest of these works are the five piano concertos.
Philips 50 is a unique collection of classic recordings celebrating many of the finest performances from one of the world's great music catalogues.
Philips Classics' distinguished legacy stretches from the early 1950s to the present day and features many of the finest artists of our time. This new series captures their inspired musicianship and incomparable artistry with greater fidelity than ever before. The famous Philips sound has been further enhanced by the use of the latest 96kHz, 24-bit technology to enable new generations to appreciate once more these critically acclaimed, award-winning recordings.
Philips 50 — a wonderful harvest from 50 years of recording.
Glenn Gould and Leonard Bernstein bring an attractive regal pomp and broad rhetoric to the Third Concerto, yet these qualities work to the more lyrical Fourth's disadvantage. Gould's well-oiled fingers zip rather mechanically through the outer movements in the first two concertos, and he scrutinizes the Emperor with the inquiring mind of a brilliant crank.
The New York Times
"Conducted with intense dedication and soaring spirits by Mr. Bernstein, these recordings are superb, both visually and aurally."
From the Director
Leonard Bernstein says about these recordings from the late 70s and 80s, all directed by Humphrey Burton, that there is "no single body of work in the universe of orchestral music that is in any way comparable to this one."
"I offer [this cycle] to all music-loving ears as a testament of faith and of my most profound reactions to this greatest of all composers."–Leonard Bernstein
In remembrance of his 90th birthday, Deutsche Grammophon releases a magnificent 7-DVD box set with Leonard Bernstein conducting and talking about the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. From splendid places in Vienna and Amsterdam, Leonard Bernstein conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. This ambitious and accomplished box includes all of Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies, the piano concertos with Krystian Zimerman, the monumental Missa solemnis and overtures together with the string quartet op. 131, excerpts from The Creatures of Prometheus and the choral fantasy op. 80.
Rudolf Serkin's 1964 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C minor is surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, and certainly his finest performance of the work. The energy and enthusiasm and even passion he brings to Concerto in C minor is overwhelming, and indeed, it overwhelms Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, who accompany Serkin with the sort of commitment that only a conductor and orchestra give to soloists when they are deeply inspired. But while Serkin's 1962 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in E flat major is also surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, it is not quite Serkin's finest recording of the work.
Passionate, dramatic, yet poetic and richly nuanced Mari Kodama brings all these qualities to her interpretation of Beethovens Complete Piano Concertos. This exceptional recording with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin shines with extraordinary intensity and contrast, due in no small measure to the artistic bond between Mari Kodama and her husband, the conductor Kent Nagano. Beethovens Piano Concertos are undoubtedly amongst the most influential works in the history of music. Art demands of us that we shall not stand still, the composer once wrote, placing the idea of development at the heart of his music. His five piano concertos saw Beethoven take piano music out of the salon and into the concert hall, playing a crucial role in advancing the genre towards the symphony, whilst simultaneously creating a bridge from the First Viennese School to the Romantic period. Mari Kodama, whose virtuosic mastery of the piano made her a household name all over the world, has completed the Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycle with her husband Kent Nagano, the international star conductor.