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These two popular concertos have for many years been coupled on LP and CD, and ever since their initial release in 1972, the performances on this CD have been consistently rated as outstanding.
This recording is one of a few to have achieved true classic status, of the stature (among concerto recordings) of Jacqueline du Pre’s Elgar Cello Concerto, and Michelangeli’s Ravel G major and Rachmaninov Fourth Piano Concertos.
The young Stephen Bishop (now known as Stephen Kovacevich) was at the height of his considerable powers, and these performances of two of the best-loved piano concertos have hardly been equalled ever since they were made almost 40 years ago.
‘Bishop’s impeccably clear playing fills the big moments with tone without allowing them to be over-rhetorical – and in fact rhetoric is less characteristic of him than fluent speech that can when necessary become assertive to the point of brilliance and does, indeed, make his third movement of the Grieg very exciting. His acute sensibility and the mellifluous playing of all orchestral solo passages show us Grieg the nature-poet. And this feeling for mood, for the undertones of reverie, gives the essence of Schumann as Romantic, and in both concertos conductor and soloist are in perfect rapport – and the recording engineers have missed nothing.’ Gramophone, March 1972
New booklet notes
Grieg: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 16 - 1. Allegro Moderato
Grieg: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 16 - 2. Adagio
Grieg: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 16 - 3. Allegro Moderato Molto E Marcato
Schumann: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54 - 1. Allegro Affettuoso
Schumann: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54 - 2. Intermezzo
Schumann: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54 - 3. Allegro Vivace
“Kovacevich (Bishop, then) was already at the height of his powers and these are characterful interpretations imbued with Romantic feeling”
“Has there ever been an account that combines authority with affection quite like Stephen Kovacevich's version from 1970?”
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