Klavier - Piano. Greatest Concertos (2 CD)
Unlike some concerto collections that deliver only single movements or brief excerpts, Berlin Classics' Greatest Piano Concertos presents four of the most famous works in the genre complete and unabridged, and listeners can appreciate the music without feeling cheated. These piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, and Robert Schumann are among the most brilliant vehicles for virtuoso pianists, and they warrant the full presentation to show both their flashy sides and subtler musical aspects, especially since two of the pieces are familiar outside of their classical contexts. The Andante alla breve from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 is well known from the soundtrack to the 1967 film "Elvira Madigan, and the opening theme of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor was very popular in the 1940s as Freddy Martin's big band ballad "Tonight We Love." But listeners don't have to satisfy themselves with just those themes, and they can understand there's much more enjoyable music in these concertos' other movements. Pianists Annerose Schmidt and Peter Rösel are the featured artists, and their performances are certainly pleasurable and respectable, if not especially well promoted by the label; the accompaniments provided by conductors Kurt Masur and Claus Peter Flor, with such great orchestras as the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, are first-rate and worthy of much wider recognition. Berlin Classics has drawn these recordings from Edel Classics' back catalog, and though the performances date from 1974 to 1989, the sound quality is never less than decent and is quite fine most of the time.