MENDELSSOHN: Piano Concerto No. 1 – Rudolf Serkin, p./Philadelphia Orch. /Eugene Ormandy; Piano Con. – Rena Kyriakou, p./ Vienna Sym. Strings/Mathieu Lange – Top Music Gold

by | Aug 3, 2011 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

MENDELSSOHN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor Op. 25 – Rudolf Serkin, p./Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy (1957); Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra in A minor – Rena Kyriakou, p./ Vienna Symphony Strings/Mathieu Lange (1963) – Top Music International Gold UQCD – TM-UQCD1072, 53.2 minutes total ****:
I wanted put this disc in our Hi-Res Section since it’s a gold audiophile special pressing, but though the original analog tapes have been converted to 192K/32-bit by an advanced system, the final CD is still 44.1K/16-bit, so it has to be in our Reissue Section. In fact the first Mendelssohn Concerto recording is probably from Columbia and is mono. Both recordings are probably now in the public domain, so Top Music is doing a similar reissue practice here to HDTT, in reviving great analog recordings of the past with the best digital sonic processing that can be done today.  Sonics are very good but not quite as advanced as some of the various audiophile material that has been issued on compatible 44.1K CDs by HDTT and F.I.M., perhaps because the original tapes aren’t that good.
Rudolf Serkin was one of the finest pianists, and his many recordings are still beloved. He had a superb technique, and he really roars thru the first movement of the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto. This is a lovely work which should get more live performances.  Greek pianist Rena Kyriakou, who passed away in 1994, is not nearly as well known in the U.S. She was also a composer. She recorded the complete piano music of Chabrier and a major survey of Mendelssohn – for which she used a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert grand piano, known for its gorgeous tonal color. The opening movement of the Concerto for Piano and Strings is nearly a quarter-hour long; the rarely-heard work deserves more attention. Unfortunately, I found the high end of the Vienna Strings to sound rather screechy during climaxes in this transfer.  I don’t know the source of the recording.
— John Sunier

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