The benchmark recording of Beethoven Piano concertos with incomparable Leon Fleisher and George Szell.
As one customer form amazon.com wrote: “This is an outstanding recording. Leon Fleischer and George Szell are a match made in heaven. The standouts in this collection are the Beethoven 4th and the Mozart 25th. George Szell was one of the absolute best conductors of concerti. The musicality and ensemble playing are flawless. The recording of the Mozart 25th is the best I've ever heard. Don't overlook one of Mozart's later masterpieces played so flawlessly. This particular work comes off best with a large modern orchestra,like the CSO, as opposed to a smaller ensemble. Great performances!”
Other reviews from Amazon.com
Recorded live in 1983, Alfred Brendel's third go-round with these works drastically improves on his previous Beethoven concerto cycles. He finds a calmer, more direct route to the Emperor Concerto, although the Fourth's first movement is still pock-marked with finicky phrase adjustments that pull focus from the music's poetic arcs. Levine provides sympathetic and alert support, yet is much more than a mere deferential accompanist.
It's a wonderful treat to find an album whose interest rests equally on its musical as well as historical merits. As such, the present two-disc sets of the complete Rachmaninoff concertos and Paganini Rhapsody cannot be beat. The three pianists heard here – Richter, Zak, and Oborin – represent the pinnacle of postwar Russian pianists. Richter is most likely the one still known to the majority of American listeners. But Zak (who was immensely influential not only as a performer but as a pedagogue) and Oborin (who was the first winner of the Chopin Competition) were recognized equally during their lifetimes. All three had a profound and obvious command of Rachmaninoff, and the performances heard here clearly demonstrate this fact.
The lean sound of the small ensemble enables you to clearly hear countless details that are obscured on even the best modern orchestra recordings. Steven Lubin's performances, and the different instruments he uses, are carefully attuned to the qualities of each individual concerto. His performances are triumphs of insight and expressiveness, and Hogwood makes sure the orchestra stays with him in every detail. My only major complaint about this set is that the wasted space on the third disc, which contains only the Emperor Concerto, should have been used for more Beethoven.