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Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2

Solomon Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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The greatest pianist Britain has ever produced and one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters of the last century was Solomon (1902-1988)--he never used his patronymic, Cutner--whose career was tragically cut short by several massive strokes in 1956. He only began to achieve genuine international fame in the early 1950s--and both of his two great Beethoven cycles began in 1952. He never completed the sonata cycle (the 18 sonatas he managed to complete have been reissued by Testament), but fate was more forgiving about the concertos--two of which were actually completed after the first of Solomon's strokes, when the pianist was partially paralyzed. This release, which pairs Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (like the Testament CD that combines Nos. 3 and 4), couples a concerto recorded before the stroke with one made afterward. Both are among the finest ever recorded. And this from a man who confided to his wife when the sessions for the First Concerto were completed that "I don't think I'll ever be able to play the piano again."

The performance observes the music's classical syntax and form, while never failing to supply the bite and tension straining against them and separating Beethoven from Mozart and Haydn. Menges, one of Solomon's favorite collaborators, matches his soloist without a misstep. The pianist's 1952 collaboration in the Concerto No. 2 with the young Andre Cluytens is no less beautiful. The first movement is reckless, but unfailingly accurate in its daring; the second warmly intimate; and the third filled with bravura that conjures a world of grace, wit, and elegance. --Stephen Wigler

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament has done it again!! Jan. 8 2004
Yes, testament has done it again. They released Solomon's wondrous Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle. The performances here are simply amazing. I've never heard anything like that before. I rank it among the very best interpretations of Beethoven's masterpiece I've ever heard. This is no mean statement considering I possess 14 complete Beethoven cycles (including all the famous ones - Pollini, Kempff, Perahia, Ashkenazy... you name it). Solomon was a child prodigy and it's so sad that his career was cut short by his illness. But thank goodness we have these preserved for us. You haven't heard Beethoven's piano concertos if you haven't heard Solomon here at his most incandescent.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Testament has done it again!! Jan. 8 2004
By "vickisimsoonseetha" - Published on Amazon.com
Yes, testament has done it again. They released Solomon's wondrous Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle. The performances here are simply amazing. I've never heard anything like that before. I rank it among the very best interpretations of Beethoven's masterpiece I've ever heard. This is no mean statement considering I possess 14 complete Beethoven cycles (including all the famous ones - Pollini, Kempff, Perahia, Ashkenazy... you name it). Solomon was a child prodigy and it's so sad that his career was cut short by his illness. But thank goodness we have these preserved for us. You haven't heard Beethoven's piano concertos if you haven't heard Solomon here at his most incandescent.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly beautiful! Dec 25 2006
By Eliana - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This recording exemplifies the magical something which distinguishes albums awared a 'Rosette' by the Penguin Guide.

These performances are in a class all of their own. A must have for every classical music collection!
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