BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37; Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 – Clara Haskil, piano/Boston Symhony Orchestra/ Charles Munch (Op. 37)/Studio-Orchester Beromuenster/Erich Schmid – Tahra

by | Jan 1, 2009 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37; Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 – Clara Haskil, piano/Boston Symhony Orchestra/ Charles Munch (Op. 37)/Studio-Orchester Beromuenster/Erich Schmid

Tahra TAH 634, 69:49 [Distrib. by Harmonia mundi] **** :

The Beethoven Third Concerto with pianist Clara Haskil (1895-1960) with Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony (3 November 1956) had been a much-coveted performance, not merely by collectors and aficianados of the great Rumanian artist, but by the Boston Symphony Trust, which guards its archives with a zeal that often thwarts music history. The performance has been prior issued on Music & Arts, but not for US distribution. Documentation claims that Haskil played the C Minor Concerto some thirty-one times in her career, and she recorded the work with Swoboda, Fricsay, and Markevitch, at least. Her suave grasp of the entire concerto possesses lyrical fleetness and pungent drama. Perhaps no more telling aspects of her mien occurs than in the Largo in E Major, whose self-possession bespeaks a noble, serene temperament. With his own energy, Munch picks up the tutti sections with fierce aplomb, particularly the contrapuntal moments in the Rondo, which become vividly expressive.

Entirely new to the Haskil catalogue is her collaboration with Erich Schmid from 25 January 1959 in the G Major Concerto, the Aeolian Harp of all piano concertos. Again, from documents attesting to some forty-eight renditions of this work, it is difficult to demand that Haskil give us more than with other artists, such as Cluytens. Yet, Haskil manages to impart a directness and plain-speaking in the ariosi and recitativo passages that testify to the searching character of each of her endeavors. Schmid often brings out a color voice that we might have long missed–whether in the bassoon or in the violas–that adds a haunted, autumnal character to the inscription, which, co-incidentally, is in fine mono sound.  Haskil provides clean, articulate filigree and a warmth of palette that make any Beethoven encounter with her an avid, connoisseur’s experience.  Quite a delightful end-of-the-year musical treat.

–Gary Lemco

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