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.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Strathclyde Concertos, all premièred by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, are among his most significant contributions to the concerto genre. Concerto No 3 for Horn and Trumpet marks a turning point in the cycle of ten concertos by employing multiple soloists, and stands in the lineage of works by Haydn, Mozart and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Concerto No 4 explores the clarinet’s lyrical Mozartian heritage, alongside subtle percussive effects and agile virtuosity.
The presence of the young Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the decision by pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to conduct it from the keyboard may lead you to expect a smaller-scale performance than listeners actually get here, in this second album of Andsnes' "Beethoven Journey." Certainly this isn't keyboard-pounding Beethoven. The slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, has none of the giant-stomping-around quality it often received in golden-age recordings.