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 Recording of the Week  Beethoven - Paul Lewis and the BBC Proms

Between 2005 and 2007 British pianist Paul Lewis toured the world giving recitals of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. Every few months he would call in at the Teldex studios in Berlin to record a few, and these were released between 2006 and 2008 by Harmonia Mundi. The series was phenomenally well received and culminated with the final volume scooping the prestigious ‘Recording of the Year’ award at the 2008 Gramophone Awards.

Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis

If like me you found his recordings of the sonatas utterly compelling, I imagine you’ll be pleased to hear that he has now turned his attention to the five concertos. The recording sessions were completed in March this year, which I imagine would normally have led to an autumn release. However, this year’s BBC Proms season was announced shortly afterwards and Paul Lewis would become the first pianist ever to play all five Concertos during one season (spread across four different concerts and accompanied by four different orchestras and conductors). Harmonia Mundi have worked hard to bring the release date forward, and I’m very pleased to say that it has all worked out perfectly - the 3-disc set of the complete Concertos is released today and the Proms start on Friday.

In these new recordings he is accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiri Belohlávek. It is a great partnership and you sense a real rapport throughout. When Lewis sounds like he having fun (such as the last movement of the First Concerto) the orchestra do too, when he plays more tenderly the orchestra match him, and when he plays the quietest pianissimo he is still audible above the orchestra. Everything sounds so natural under Paul Lewis. He doesn’t have a big ego to support and you sense that everything he does is to the service of the music. I’ve put the slow movement of the Emperor Concerto on for you to listen to and there is also a short video preview to watch. This is likely to become one of our best sellers of 2010 and comes very highly recommended.

Also worth mentioning this week is our Proms 2010 special page. Here you can easily find and browse recordings of the works being played at this year's festival and see any specific discs which either through the artists, the repertoire or both are particularly relevant to each concert. I hope you find it useful.

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Paul Lewis (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jiri Belohlávek

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC