Beethoven: Piano Concerti Nos. 3 & 4

Yuliya Gorenman

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Beethoven: Piano Concerti Nos. 3 & 4 Review

by James Manheim

This CD, apparently released by Ukrainian-American pianist Yuliya Gorenman herself, was recorded live, but you don't learn when or where, other than that the recording took place in France or Switzerland. You can additionally place it in winter, judging by the number of coughs that show up in quiet passages like the beginning of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58. There are other ragged points, but there are also grounds for encouragement as this kind of recording becomes more common in an era of limited recording budgets. The readings by Gorenman and the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra under Philip Greenberg are restrained and deliberate, extremely so in the finale of the Piano Concerto No. 4. Even so, that concerto works quite well here. Gorenman holds together the long lines of the opening movement even at her languid pacing, and you hear many small interactions of piano and winds that are lost in more sprightly readings. The Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, is less successful, with an extremely circumspect solo entrance in the first movement that it's hard to imagine Beethoven would have tolerated. Yet nowhere is the music-making forced or done by rote, and the virtues of live performance cut through the ambient noise. The booklet, in English only, consists of just a short, standard biography of Gorenman, with no commentary on the music.

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