Magazine article Gramophone

Veteran Pianist Biret Takes on the Piano/ensemble Works

Magazine article Gramophone

Veteran Pianist Biret Takes on the Piano/ensemble Works

Article excerpt


'The Complete Piano Concertos'

Konzertmusik, Op 49a. The Four Temperaments.

Klaviermusik mit Orchester, Op 29. Kammermusik

No 2, Op 36 No 1. Piano Concerto

Idil Biret pf (a) Olivia Coates, "Chelsea Lane hps

Yale Symphony Orchestra / Toshiyuki Shimada

Naxos (s) (2) 8 573201/2 (136' * DDD)

While Hindemith's concertos for violin, cello and especially viola have been gathered in usually single-disc collections, the five works for piano and orchestra never have outside large multi-disc surveys with the other orchestral works (CPO) or conducted by the composer (DG, reissued under licence by Naxos). So points to Naxos for initiative in issuing them in two well-filled discs.

The chronological sequence of these works (not all are concertos) needs clarification as neither the discs nor the booklet follow it, or each other. First came Klaviermwik mit Orchester (1923), a Kammermusik with full orchestra composed for Wittgenstein but never played by the pianist (the score was withheld by Wittgenstein's estate until 2002, its first performance two years later making it, paradoxically, the most recently premiered).

In 1924 came Kammermusik No 2 with wind orchestra; and six years later the Konzertmusik for piano, brass and harps. The most popular, The Four Temperaments, is a 1940 ballet for piano and strings. Only in the last, the 1945 Piano Concerto, does a full orchestra return.

Unlike Mauser, Idil Biret is not noted, perhaps, as a Hindemith specialist but she turns in polished performances throughout. Tempi are on the slow slide: she and Shimada are 80 seconds slower than Fleischer in Klaviermusik mit Orchester and four minutes or more behind Brautigam and Vogt in Kammermusik No 2, Haas in the Konzertmusik (under Hindemith) and both Otte (again with the composer) and Shelley in The Four Temperaments. …

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