Friedrich Gulda / Trio di Trieste / Karl Böhm

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Triple Concerto

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Since it was issued in Archipel's "Desert Island Collection," it is hard to argue that either recording on this disc lives up to its name. But what recording could? Nevertheless, these are fine performances worth hearing by anyone who loves the performers and has already heard dozens of recordings of the works. The January 22, 1953, recording of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with Friedrich Gulda as both the conductor of the Vienna Symphony and the piano soloist, is a superbly performed, strongly imagined, single-minded interpretation. The March 11, 1954, recording of Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Trio di Trieste accompanied by Karl Böhm, leading the Vienna Symphony, is a brilliantly performed, powerfully rhythmic, multifaceted collaboration. Gulda's interpretation may not be the deepest Fourth Concerto ever recorded, and the Trio di Trieste and Böhm's collaboration may not be the greatest Triple Concerto ever preserved, but it is still fascinating to hear what the performers do with the piece. This does not make them candidates for a desert-island collection, but, taken on their own terms, they are still interesting enough to listen to once. Archipel's sound is raw, harsh, and distant despite being "remastered...from superb sources."

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