Felix Weingartner

Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Fidelio Overture; Piano Concerto No. 3

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Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Fidelio Overture; Piano Concerto No. 3 Review

by James Leonard

There are three significant differences between Opus Kura's 2007 release of Felix Weingartner's recordings of Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic from 1937 and his C minor Piano Concerto with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra from 1939 and Naxos Historical's 2004 release of the exact same recordings. The first is that Opus Kura costs more. The second is that Opus Kura also includes Weingartner's recording of Beethoven's Fidelio Overture with the London Philharmonic from 1938. The third and most important is that the sound of the releases is distinctly different. Remastered by Mark Obert-Thorn, Naxos' sound is clean and clear but slightly disembodied. Remastered by Satoru Aihara, Opus Kura's sound is likewise clean and clear, but much more vivid. One gets the sense that there is more music in the Opus Kura release than in the Naxos. In all three cases, of course, the performances themselves are magnificent. One of the foremost Beethoven conductors of his time -- and his competition included such titans as Toscanini and Furtwängler -- Weingartner's supremely lucid but always passionate Beethoven still sounds remarkably fresh. Teamed with violinist Ricardo Odnoposoff, cellist Stefan Auber, and pianist Angelica Morales in the "Triple" Concerto and with the great French pianist Marguerite Long in the piano concerto, these recordings should be heard by anyone with a deep and abiding interest in Beethoven.

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