The Beethoven set includes the first two piano concertos (No. 1 in two versions, one with cadenzas supplied by Glenn Gould) together with Beethoven’s only completed opera in its final version: Fidelio. He always had a strong and fervent view of freedom and its resonance still rings true today nearly two hundred years since its first performance.
Rudolf Serkin's 1964 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C minor is surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, and certainly his finest performance of the work. The energy and enthusiasm and even passion he brings to Concerto in C minor is overwhelming, and indeed, it overwhelms Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, who accompany Serkin with the sort of commitment that only a conductor and orchestra give to soloists when they are deeply inspired. But while Serkin's 1962 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in E flat major is also surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, it is not quite Serkin's finest recording of the work.
Beethoven was the last great composer to write string trios, and his are the finest works of their type. Mozart hardly touched this particular combination, and Haydn wrote quite few very early works which are now completely unknown. In any case, Haydn used two violins and a cello, whereas with Beethoven the standard combination became violin, viola, and cello. These are all early works, expert examples of all that Beethoven learned from Haydn and Mozart in preparation for the writing of his first great string quartets. But far from being mere composition exercises, these are highly rewarding works on their own, and these outstanding performances make the best possible case for their claim to be ranked among Beethoven's chamber music masterpieces.
…Zacharias began recording for EMI the following year, and would, by 1997, make over 40 albums for the label, covering a broad range of repertory, including Mozart (complete concertos and sonatas), Beethoven (complete concertos), Scarlatti, Schubert, Schumann, and many others. Despite great success throughout the 1980s and early '90s in his keyboard career, Zacharias decided to take up conducting in 1992. His debut was in Geneva with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande…
“there are several reasons to shout about it…there's Shelley himself: a pianist whose quiet musicality and unobtrusive virtuosity shine through everything he touches…Throughout the set, there's a humanity to Shelley's music-making; it's particularly affecting in the B-flat Concerto, which he imbues with warmth as well as wit…this is a major new cycle, an important addition not only to the catalogue but also to Shelley's exceptionally fine discography.”