Colin Davis is arguably the finest Berlioz conductor in the world; both of his recordings of Les Troyens are magnificent and elsewhere he's rarely bettered. His winning streak continues with this live performance with the LSO of Harold in Italy and the ballet music from Troyens. Tabea Zimmermann's solo viola is as grand, brilliantly flavorful, and picturesque as the LSO's playing; and the entire performance swift and rhythmically propulsive is simply fantastic.
When it comes to piano concertos, no two composers wrote more compatible concertos than Grieg and Schumann. Both are in A minor, both are in three movements, and both are ecstatically lyric, tenderly romantic, and amazingly virtuosic. And both fit very comfortably together as a recorded double bill, a coupling that has attracted some of the greatest pianists of the postwar years: Claudio Arrau with Colin Davis and the Boston Symphony, Leon Fleisher with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, Walter Gieseking with Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic, Sviatoslav Richter with Lovro von Matacic and the Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra, and this recording by Stephen Kovacevich with Colin Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.