This particular recording has been a favourite of mine since its initial release nearly 30 years ago. Stephen Kovacevich (or Bishop-Kovacevich. if you prefer) appeals as 1 of those pianists whose playing is rather forthright & precise, giving us here a rather lyrical presentation of the concerti full of grace & good demeanor. A little on the light side compared to those who pound out their Beethovens some would think.
The Piano Concerto No. 2 is also Beethoven in classical mode, using an orchestra that would have suited a Mozart piano concerto equally well. What marks it out from other classical works of the time are the solo outbursts in each of the first two movements. In the first, a contrapuntal cadenza with exciting modulations takes us into new and more individual territory, in which the keyboard becomes absolutely the composers focus; in the second we are treated to some powerful, improvisatory solos. The last movement, a rondo with a highly rhythmic main theme in 6/8, manages to introduce a descending chromatic progression towards the end and closes with the piano oscillating rapidly between major and minor chords (a light hearted conclusion to the piece, but one which taxes every pianist).
Sony Classical in cooperation with Paramax Films and Dolby releases the world premiere of the first classical concert on video mixed in the new sound technology of Dolby Atmos®. Captured by Paramax Films in the orchestra’s home city of Tel Aviv in July 2015, Khatia Buniatishvili and Zubin Mehta unite in a concert with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at its resident venue of Charles Bronfman Auditorium. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, last-named with Dolby Atmos technology, the legendary conductor and the 2016 ECHO Klassik Award winning pianist showcase a performance of the piano’s most famous orchestral repertoire; Beethoven’s infectious and virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 1. and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with its waves of sound and grandiose third movement. Last concerto proven to be “a superb showpiece for Buniatishvili, whose technical prowess, theatrical manner and innate glamour mark her out as a natural Liszt interpreter” writes the Guardian.
Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev has an astoundingly clean and virtuosic technique. He has the ability to bring out inner voices that in some other recordings are completely lost. These skills are sometimes enough to make his interpretations of these three early and middle period Beethoven sonatas completely satisfying. The third movement of the "Moonlight" Sonata, for example, is absolutely electrifying in its virtuosity. The first movement of the"Waldstein" and the final movement of "Appassionata" are brisk, energetic, and always completely under control. Movements such as these, where the performer's technique truly comes to the forefront, are absolutely satisfying here.
Paramax Films captured the concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at its resident venue of Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv in July 2015 conducted by Zubin Mehta and starring Georgian concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili. The film showcases a performance of the piano’s most famous orchestral repertoire; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Liszt’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No 2 with its waves of sound.