Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 1

Article excerpt

Beethoven

Piano Concerto No 1, Op 15 (a). Symphony No 1, Op 21 (b) (a) Martha Argerich pf Mito Chamber Orchestra / Seiji Ozawa Decca (F) 483 2566DH (61' * DDD) Recorded live at the Art Tower Mito, Mito City, Ibaraki, Japan, (b) January 10-15, "May 9-14, 2017

Seiji Ozawa is 82 and Martha Argerich is 76, yet they go at Beethoven's First Piano Concerto like a pair of teenagers. All of Argerich's playful, exploratory tics are there--tugging at tempos, sudden accents, accentuating inner lines and so on, and Ozawa's (judging from the booklet picture) tiny hand-picked Mito Chamber Orchestra are with her all the way. They pack a punch way beyond expectations, given the size of the forces, and Ozawa is not shy of the odd period touch, hard timp sticks being the most obvious example. The finale is as bubbly and cheeky as you're ever likely to hear it and provokes a huge ovation from the Japanese audience. It's an Op 15 to live with.

The First Symphony might almost seem to be the B-feature in such company but it's no such thing. …

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