Dip your Ears... ( 6 ) 

Short comments on recently acquired discs.

L.v. Beethoven,
Piano Concerto no.4, Symphony no.2 (chamber versions),
Robert Levin

Another disc of standard Beethoven repertoire? Geeez, what could be so special about the n'th recording of a 2nd Symphony and the 4th Piano Concerto? Well, for starters, the fact that these are the Beethoven transcribed versions for piano trio and piano sextet! An acquaintance had said some time ago, that if the 2nd Symphony had never been written, this piano trio version of it would be a regular guest in concert halls around the world, hailed as one of the finest trios ever written - together with the Archduke and the Ghost. Beethoven himself had a hand in finishing that transcription–and the Piano Concerto was transcribed entirely by him.
The playing is impeccable with Robert Levin, a period performance specialist, on a Fortepiano and the first chairs of the Orchestre Revolutionnaire e Romantique backing him up. (Robert Levin was also the soloist for the highly acclaimed Gardiner/ORR survey of Beethoven's complete piano concertos.) This is joyous chambermusic that sounds eerily familiar, it adds both to the smaller, more intimate genre as well as adding to ones understanding and appreciation of the larger works that stood model for them. These are not the make-shift transcriptions that were common in times where larger works could hardly be heard by a wider public–and they sure deserve a listen. ƒƒ

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