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.
This particular recording has been a favourite of mine since its initial release nearly 30 years ago. Stephen Kovacevich (or Bishop-Kovacevich. if you prefer) appeals as 1 of those pianists whose playing is rather forthright & precise, giving us here a rather lyrical presentation of the concerti full of grace & good demeanor. A little on the light side compared to those who pound out their Beethovens some would think.
"The five piano concertos of St.-Saens are not frequently heard and that is a shame in view of the endless repeats of the Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Schumann warhorses. They are all well-composed examples of the best of French instrumental music of the later 19th century and full of lovely melodies that would appeal greatly to concert audiences. I hadn’t enjoyed any of them for some time and it was a pleasure to have these two concertos in enveloping hi-res surround. … Orchestration is very colorful, with solos originating in the winds and strings." 4/5 ~audiophile-audition