DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Two New Beethoven Recordings, But Only One Gets It Right

By Norman Lebrecht on October 18, 2019

Lebrecht Listens Oct. 18 2019

Beethoven: Piano Concertos 0-5/No. 0-2, 6 (Deutschlandfunk/Oehms)

★★☆☆☆/★★★☆☆

Mari Kodama with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/ Kent Nagano (conductor)
🎧 Apple Music Spotify | Amazon

Sophie-Mayuko Vetter with Hamburg Symphony Orchestra / Peter Ruzicka (conductor)
🎧 Apple Music | Spotify | Amazon

Two recordings arrive, both claiming to be Beethoven world premieres. At issue is a piano concerto the great man wrote in 1784 at the age of 13 or 14 and, after copious revisions, apparently forgot about. The autograph manuscript sits in the Berlin State Library, and two pianists have had recourse to it, with a quick trip to the photocopier.

First things first: is the concerto a significant work? Not in the sense that it reveals much we did not already know about Beethoven, music or humanity. The opening theme does not grip the ear and the development is fairly conventional. If someone marketed this as a discovered work by Clementi or Dussek, you would not doubt their word. There are phrases in the second movement that give an intimation of what lies ahead in the slow movements of the C major and D major concertos but the emotional barometer is turned very low and there is little to command the listener’s attention over the course of 23 minutes.

So which of the performances is to be preferred? Mari Kodama gives a perfectly agreeable account of the work with her husband, Kent Nagano, conducting the DSO-Berlin as part of a set of six Beethoven piano concertos. Sophie-Mayuko Vetter, playing a Beethoven-era Broadwood fortepiano, sounds marginally more convincing, accompanied by the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor Peter Ruzicka. Her album offers, in addition to the well-known B-flat major concerto opus 19, an unheard fragment of yet another discarded piano concerto. Undated, this one contains hints of an opening phrase from the future Emperor Concerto. In a year full of Beethoven, these workshop scrapings exert a haunting fascination. Vetter’s the one to try.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Want more updates on classical music and opera news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all the latest.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (Oct. 29 – Nov. 3)

By Joseph So on October 28, 2019

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of October 29 – November 3.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Annual General Meeting Shows The COC Continues To Do More With Less

By Michael Vincent on October 22, 2019

The Canadian Opera Company's Annual General Meeting celebrated milestones, and an operating year where the company continues to do more with less.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

WHO'S WHO | Amici Chamber Ensemble To Livestream Komitas Tribute From Koerner Hall, Friday, Oct. 25

By Member on October 23, 2019

“Without Komitas, we would have been left with no record of most of our musical heritage. He laid the foundations of our national music,” says pianist and composer Serouj Kradjian.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.