Fifteen years ago, pianist Richard Goode made history with the release on Nonesuch of Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas, the first recording of this repertoire in its entirety undertaken by an American musician. This 10-disc set brought Goode a Grammy nomination as well as international acclaim and an ever-growing audience. The Washington Post declared that Goode “must be counted among the leading Beethoven pianists of our time.” The New York Times called the project “a landmark” and pronounced Goode’s playing “remarkable for its organic naturalness and its combination of freshness and maturity.” Now, with the highly anticipated released of Beethoven: The Complete Piano Concertos, Goode once again ventures where few have gone before him, being one of a handful of American-born musicians to comprehensively record this work, and the first to do so in nearly 20 years.
Goode recorded this three-disc set in June and November of 2005 at the National Concert Hall in Budapest, Hungary, with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The five concertos were conducted by Ivan Fischer, founder and music director of the Orchestra and principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC. Says Goode, “It has been a great pleasure for me to perform and record the Beethoven concertos with Iván Fischer and his remarkable orchestra. Their superb brio, musical vitality, and total absence of routine have been an inspiration. I hope these performances will be faithful to the spirit of these great works and also reflect the joy of our collaboration.”
When Goode appeared with the Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Barbican in June 2005 to perform Concerto No. 2, in B Flat, Op. 19, the Independent’s classical reviewer noted that, “Fischer found unaffectedly fresh nuances in the orchestral writing, which Goode proceeded to match by the variations of touch and expression with which he seemed to re-inflect or vivify the most routine runs and flourishes of the solo part, meanwhile creating a luminous sense of time suspended near the end of the slow movement. Their reading of the grander, starker Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 36, was equally revelatory; intent with contained tension even in the ostensibly serene central Largo, and with an irresistible lifting of spirits in the dancing final pages.”
With 21 recordings in his discography; Goode continues to enjoy a distinguished career with Nonesuch Records; in fact, his is the longest tenure of any artist actively working with the label. Goode has cultivated a devoted following among his fellow musicians as well as with audiences and critics, and is considered a leading interpreter of Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Mozart. He regularly performs with major orchestras and is a sought-after recitalist at venues around the world.
Piano Concerto No. 1, I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 1, II. Largo
Piano Concerto No. 1, III. Rondo - Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 2, I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No. 2, II. Adagio
Piano Concerto No.2, III. Rondo - Allegro molto
Piano Concerto No.3 In C Minor, Op.37 1. Allegro Con Brio
Piano Concerto No.4 In G Major, Op.58 1. Allegro Moderato
Andante Con Moto
Piano Concerto No. 5 In Eflat Maj, Op 73, Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 5 In Eflat Maj, Op 73,, Adagio Un Poco Mosso
Piano Concerto No. 5 In Eflat Maj, Op 73,, Op 73, Rondo. Allegro
5th June 2009
“There's a great deal of pleasure to be had out of these performances.”
15th May 2009
“The orchestra’s contribution is exceptional. Bland playing appears beyond Fischer’s troops: their East European colours are individual, their phrasing constantly alert, and their union with Goode total. Listen how soloist and orchestra handle each other in the Fourth Concerto’s battles and interruptions — possibly the cycle’s finest performance. Throughout, the recording is warm and natural. Buy with confidence.”
10th May 2009
“Goode's artistry is lucid and assured. Fischer's fiery extroversion provides exciting contrast.”
“This is not a set that immediately fires the imagination, nor is it in all respects a perfectly 'finished' production. That said, it contains fine accounts of the elusive Third Concerto and the imperturbably splendid Fifth. The two early concertos receive disappointing performances. Though Fischer and his Budapest players provide brisk, no-nonsense support, soloist Richard Goode appears to be in the grip of a self-denying ordinance, happy to provide an accurate tally of the notes but not much inclined to report upon them. Narrowness of dynamic and expressive range is complemented by a similar narrowness of dramatic vision. Beethoven Orchestral beethoven the five piano concertos – in brief Daniel Barenboim; New Philharmonia / Otto Klemperer EMI 763360-2 B6D Youth and experience combine for a set of the concertos that constantly reveals new facets of the works. Klemperer draws playing of fierce commitment from the orchestra. The coupling is the Choral Fantasy. Pierre-Laurent Aimard; COE / Nikolaus Harnoncourt Teldec 0927-47334-2 B666D An inspirational set with a truly impressive freshness and spontaneity (partly due to the set's having been recorded live). This is very much a Beethoven set for the new century. Maurizio Pollini; BPO / Claudio Abbado DG 439 770-2GH3 FD Pollini's second cycle (the first with the VPO remains available) is a fine achievement with Abbado a sympathetic partner. Pollini may shy away from Beethoven's jokes but he thrives on the majesty and grandeur. Murray Perahia: Concertgebouw Orchestra / Bernard Haitink Sony Classical 07464 44575-2 F66D Limpid, spontaneous and wonderfully poetic, Perahia is a magnificent interpreter. With glorious sound, this is one of the most 'complete' of all concerto cycles. Alfred Brendel; VPO / Simon Rattle Philips 462 781-2PH3 S6D Two musicians completely in tune with each and an orchestra that really understands this music makes for a richly rewarding encounter. The slow movements are magnificent. A set of probing intellectual rigour married to years of Beethoven experience. Wilhelm Kempff; BPO / Paul van Kempen h DG 474 024-2GOM5 S66D A classic set (Kempff's first) withstands the passing of years remarkably well. Kempff's lucid yet poetc way with Beethoven is enormously satisfying. There's a real sense of delight here. (It forms part of a set focusing on Kempff's complete concerto recordings for DG.) Radu Lupu; Israel PO / Zubin Mehta Decca d 475 4065DC4 (4h 50' · ADD) M6D A new recording from Lupu seems unlikely so all the more reason to cherish these supreme interpretations form the 1970s. Lupu's lyricism is illustrated on every page and he brings myriad detail to these very fine performances. They form part of four-disc Beethoven set that also includes sonatas and a superb Quintet for Piano and Winds. In the Third Concerto the clouds lift. Here is freshness and attack, real poetry in the first movement development, a recapitulation that matters and a superbly calibrated account of Beethoven's built-in cadenza. In the finale of the Third, there is nothing daemonic. Rather, there is a sense of an uncomplicated dance to the music of time. Richard Goode's way with the opening of the Fourth Concerto also has a somewhat balletic feel to it. His reading has a gracious, clean-cut quality which deserves a more aurally sensitive, less matter-of-fact accompaniment than it receives here from the Budapest players. In the slow movement, the orchestral summonses are given a strangely militaristic character. After which, everything comes right in the Fifth Concerto. This is a straightforward performance of the old school, with clean symphonic lines and classy articulation from the soloist; one of those readings of the Emperor that manages to combine lightness of spirit with a proper sense of heroic endeavour. The piano sound, dull-toned in the two early concertos, is brighter and more robust in the later works without being absolutely in the first flight of excellence.”
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