Beethoven: Piano Concerto 4

Album review
Beethoven: Piano Concerto 4


Piano Concerto 4

Label: Impex
Media: LP
Genre: Classical

After Gould and Bernstein performed Beethoven’s Fourth piano concerto in January 1957, the conductor said, “Glenn, that was tremendous! We’ll have to record it.” “Glad you liked it,” Gould replied, but confided to a friend, “He’s not ready for it.” The recording, made a few months later, proves two things: Bernstein was right—their collaboration warranted a recording; and Gould was wrong—this was hardly a conductor unready. As was not the case with their later notorious Brahms First, they partnered each other splendidly here: Gould all delicacy and introspection, while Bernstein, scrupulously solicitous, surrounds him with rich, glowing orchestral sonorities, at once sensual and strongly inflected. Gould’s touch is diaphanously light with textures magically clean and transparent, plumbing depths yet ravishingly lyrical— the first movement cadenza emerges as a kind of mini-tone poem. The recitative- like andante is slow but intense and hushed, though the orchestral opening has Klemperian strength. The rondo— alert, playful, exuberant—ends the reading with a burst of sunlit gaiety. Spacious, vibrant sonics (and superbly quiet surfaces) suit the interpretation: deeply emotional, highly imaginative, uniquely personal, as only two very great artists could achieve, yet not in the least idiosyncratic. 

More Info

  • primary artist, New York Philharmonic
  • composer, Beethoven
  • conductor, Glenn Gould
  • LP

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