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Olli Mustonen continues his acclaimed cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos. In this second volume, the Finnish pianist and conductor turns his talent to the Third Piano Concerto and the Piano Concerto which Beethoven arranged himself from the Violin Concerto of 1806. While this is seldom played in concert, with only a handful of recordings available in the catalogue, Mustonen regularly puts it in his programmes and it has become one of his signature pieces.
As on the previous disc, Mustonen performs with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, whith whom he has maintained close artistic ties for years, accompanying this Beethoven project with acclaimed tour performances in various European countries.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
I. Allegro con brio
III. Rondo: Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 61a
I. Allegro, ma non troppo
8th August 2008
“Though Mustonen plays it with enthusiasm, [the Concerto in D Major, originally for violin) arouses mixed feelings. The writing only becomes genuinely pianistic in the cadenzas - they are phenomenal - and in the newly composed transition from slow movement to finale. Mustonen's performance of the Third Concerto, however, is one of the finest on disc: big-hearted and free from the Haydnesque prissiness that some interpreters bring to the work. The Tapiola Sinfonietta's playing is sensational, too.”
19th July 2008
“A sustained singing line is evidently anathema to the maverick Finn. Instead he is forever nudging and tweaking the music, shading away almost inaudibly at cadences, and adding jabbing accents where you least expect - or want - them (Beethoven's score is already lavishly peppered with sforzandi).
Mustonen's keyboard mastery is irrefutable, both in the C minor Concerto and in Beethoven's opportunistic keyboard arrangement of his Violin Concerto, with its almost comically portentous piano-and-timpani cadenza. Despite moments of illumination, though, my reactions to these performances veered between bafflement and exasperation.”
5th July 2008
“Mustonen plays Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3 with a spiky, red-hot touch, fiery with poetic anger, running silky trills straight into dazzling scales and letting fly with accents in unaccustomed places like an orator emphasising prepositions for rhetorical effect. It is a thrilling listen.”