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Having spent the last several weeks listening to a handful of performances, so far my favorite recording is by Claudio Arrau with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Sir Colin Davis. My second choice is Uchida.
Also, I bought the one by Maria-Joćo Pires and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding, which didn't grab me... however, I plan to give it several more auditions.
Lastly, the Brendel/Rattle got no shiggy to it IME.
Please share your faves.
Although this thread may have run its course, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Rudolf Serkin/Seiji Ozawa/Boston Symphony on Telarc. This is a majestic performance with excellent sound quality, especially on the original LP release.
One of my enduring favorites -- for about 60 years now -- is a London monaural recording, LL-1045 with (then not yet Sir) Clifford Cruzon. Hans Knappetsbusch conducts the Vienna Philharmonic. Not too bad.
It may have been one of the last Decca monaural-only masters. The current offerings are described as "ambient stereo".
Personally, I love the LP of Arrau with Haitink. Which is difficult for me to admit, because I pretty much dislike most all of Haitink's recordings. But this is a rare exception.
As for any CD re-issue of this recording, I wouldn't be able to comment, as I've heard only the LP.
Beyond that, well yeah, I've got a lot of other recordings of this piece, and I really like some of them, but my "go to" is the Arrau/Haitink LP .
"Life without music is a mistake" (Nietzsche)
Hans Richter-Haaser/Istvįn Kertész/Philharmonia:1960
Moravec/Turnovsky/Vienna Symphony :1963
I don't have your Arrau/Davis, but I have a 1964 recording with Haitink.A bit too timid and gentle for my taste.
I have the Arrau/Haitink version, as well. It's very fine, e.g., Arrau's passage work is cleaner in the (to me) all-important bar 4. But otherwise, I prefer the Dresden orchestra and acoustics.
Also, I purchased Maria-Joćo Pires' recording with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding. It didn't grab me, but I plan to give it several more auditions.
Meanwhile, Brendel?Rattle got no shiggy to it IMHO, but I plan to listen to Brendel's other recordings of the 4th. I prefer a not-too-cerebral approach to this work, though.
Can't speak to her Beethoven No. 4 but did hear her perform the Beethoven No. 3 live at Davies Hall last year, with San Francisco Symphony Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt on the podium.
See review linked below which just about covers it.
I do have an old copy of Brendel/Wallberg/Vienna Pro Musica (1963) Right after Serkin/Toscanini set, this soudns so *normal* but gone are the sense of fun and adventure. This is your usual *respectable* Beethoven with a polished elegance.
I know he made a complete PC recording with Levine/CSO & Rattle but I haven't motivated to listen to either as they aren't my fave conductors.
left that hasn't yet unlocked its secrets.
As a newbie, I'll live with Sudbin's for awhile.
I love the 4th also, although I don't think I've heard those.
My favorite is Weissenberg/Karajan, but all of the usual suspects are very good: Kempff, Fleisher, Brendel, Gilels/Ludwig, Goode.
Like most I really like Fleisher/Szell.
Otherwise pretty much the usual suspects:
It's all been said before.
The 4th was a particular specialty of Arrau's. I saw him perform it with the SFS some years ago, and I've also got his recordings with Galliera, Haitink, Muti (video only), and Bernstein (!). The one with Davis, though, is special, as is their recording of the 'Emperor'.
Among more recent recordings, I really like Minaar/deVriend on Challenge (DSD download), though it's pretty quirky and idiosyncratic.
My two favorites:
Kraus, Lili_Desarzens_Vienna State Opera Orchestra - sound is OK but not wonderful. The performance still seems special after 4 decades of hearing the recording.
Fleisher_Szell_Cleveland Orchestra - the most recent re-mastering has improved the sound quality and the performance has always been stellar.
my blog: http://carsmusicandnature.blogspot.com/
This is my favorite Beethoven 4th concerto. I return to this one in preference to a number of others that I have, including Fleisher/Szell, Brendel/Levine, etc.
Recently I heard a fine live performance with Perahia, Welser-Moest/Cleveland; it was much livelier than the Perahia/Haitink recording.
Reviewing some YT's, found this one of Backhaus and Knappertsbusch VPO, 1962 festival.
That YT video with Kna is wonderful to watch. Backhaus always brings something special to this.
I like his recording with Krauss as well, but Kna brings out more of the poetry.
There's a Curzon with Kna as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpEDMd_UAM0
I'd also single out Katchen's recordings as well worth a listen.
Chris answered with LP covers, am wondering if he ever plays LP's.
The Cliburn/Reiner I have on CD, from Cliburn box.
I own many Beethoven pc 4's, but my classics are Fleisher/Szell, not the Gilels/Szell set (which was also recorded near Szell's death), the great Arrau with Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw on mint vinyl box.
We also have a great Vladimir Ashkenazy performance with Cleveland, Backhaus with VPO, Kempff with BPO (stereo), and others.
Not anymore of course. ;-)
Nevertheless, when I'm getting the meta info to go with my digital files, I often prefer to include the LP cover art, rather than the CD cover art. I generally find the LP covers more aesthetically pleasing, and they often seem to have been produced with more artistry and craftsmanship (although occasionally the opposite is true). Of course, a lot depends on whether I can find a high-enough quality digital reproduction of a particular cover on the internet. Examples below (directly off other sites):
This one came out a little dark in the scan (I think it was on eBay) - I'd have to brighten it up with a photo editor. In fact, here it is, brightened up:
You can see on both the following cover and the one above that there's some artistry and aesthetic taste present (even in the choice of fonts) - at least IMHO! ;-)
Nice covers, amazing photo editing and good records. Capitol and Command.
Recently, wife bought me some LP wall mountings. Her idea, show the cover, stash the record. When folks come over, play the record. The ones displayed are all great recordings or compilations (Walter), purchased for a $1 and cleaned, good to better condition. We listened to 1812, Capriccio I, a couple of beautiful Rossini overtures. Sound on shaded dog is much nicer than the Merc. On to Mozart and Walter, but I have several copies of the Anda.
Can't seem to post the photos right, too tired.
Merc Living Stereo, 1812, Cap Italien, Dorati/Minn.
RCA shaded dog, Rossini Ov, Reiner/Chicago
DGG big tulips, revised cover Mozart PC 17/21, Elvira Madigan Anda/Salzburg
An Evening with Bruno Walter, mono NYPO etc.
I wanted to add too that I'm always on the look out for improved internet files of LP album covers of those pics I already have. For instance, just today, I found a better example of the Leinsdorf/LAPO Debussy/Ravel album cover, which I just downloaded and used to replace a previous incarnation of this file, which had some shrink-wrap reflections.
"New" replacement file - probably needs a bit of color correction
just experimenting, got some earthquake putty in back of the frames
rummaging around, only have 5 or 6 versions of Beethoven PC 4. I just always loved the old LP with Fleisher/Szell mated with the Mozart 25. A couple of good copies here. Both are gold label with strobe, one is quieter.
I started out with the Gilels/Ludwig recording, which many consider superior to the Gilels/Szell, in the sense that the Gilels/Ludwig performance was not dominated by the conductor, and the soloist was far more free to express his own ideas rather than always having to fit in with a conductor's inflexible idea of the music, which at times seemed to clip the soloist's wings. ("He's really not a very nice man, is he?", Gilels is reported to have said about Szell to one of the Cleveland Orchestra members during the sessions.)
OTOH, nice or not, one of my other favorite recordings of the Fourth Concerto is the Fleisher/Szell, originally on Epic. But perhaps my favorite of all (especially for sheer drama) is the Moravec/Turnovsky, despite SQ which doesn't seem as natural as the other two recordings I mentioned. I also have Moravec's re-make of the work with Belohlavek, which, although better recorded, has seemed not as dramatic as his earlier recording, but I haven't steeped myself in this later performance as much either - it's still impressive in a more restrained way. In both of his recordings, Moravec uses Beethoven's alternate cadenza in the first movement. (Come to think of it, maybe Gilels does too - I don't have that recording on hand to check right now.)
A dark horse for me is the Bachauer/Dorati/LSO recording on Mercury. I think if you listen to this performance, you'll be struck (as I was) by the extraordinary evenness of Bachauer's playing. Sure, almost everyone who plays this concerto has sufficient technique to do it justice, but the notes in Bachauer's passage work seem like the proverbial evenly-matched pearls! Because Mercury's typically close-up microphoning is more likely to expose any imperfections in the line, Bachauer's mastery of this aspect of playing seems all the more extraordinary.
And although, in any given work, I usually prefer other pianists to Cliburn, he certainly did have his moments. And in the case of the Fourth Concerto, I really do like the Cliburn/Reiner performance - not least for its very natural recording quality, but also for its paradoxical combination of freshness and almost visionary calm. This was apparently the very last recording that Reiner made in Chicago, and he is reported to have been in pretty bad health at the time. Nevertheless, the orchestra sounds alert (although not on edge - which could happen with Reiner!).
So many more, of course!
However, I was raised on this one. Perhaps one of the first handful of LPs I bought when I started collecting back in 1956.
And, although I haven't heard that particular recording, Novaes could certainly be wonderful! (I have really fond memories of her Chopin Etudes, although it's been ages since I heard those performances.)
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