Hélène Grimaud's performances on this disc a coupling of Beethoven "Emperor" Piano Concerto with his Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 101 are truly fantastic. Her technique is essentially untouchable and her tone is surprisingly colorful. And, as in her previous recordings, her interpretations are outrageous. With Vladimir Jurowski and the Dresden Staatskapelle in the Concerto, Grimaud is unafraid to do whatever she wants with balance and tempos.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his period orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, never recorded a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and this 2016 Sony release is their only recording of the Symphony No. 4 in B flat major and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, made almost ten months before the conductor's death. Harnoncourt planned for this to be his last recording before his retirement, so it inevitably has the feeling of a valedictory performance, and one can also hear it as the orchestra's warm tribute to its leader and his sterling musicianship.
Combining the forces of two of the 20th century´s greatest musicians – Yehudi Menuhin and Herbert von Karajan in their only recorded performance together – this magnificent programme marks a high point in filmed classical music. Both features, Mozart´s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Dvorák´s “New World” Symphony, were directed by master film-maker and long-time Karajan collaborator Henri-Georges Clouzot (The Wages of Fear). Bonus: Herbert von Karajan in conversation with Yehudi Menuhin (on Mozart) and Prof. Joachim Kaiser (on Dvorák). Special bonus feature: Previously unreleased rehearsal session prior to Violin Concerto No. 5!