Mari Kodama / Kent Nagano

Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Piano Concerto No. 3

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The Beethoven sonata recordings of Japanese-German pianist Mari Kodama have a following among those who value deliberate, low-key precision in Beethoven rather than introspection or drama. They may be too low-key for some, but Beethoven's problematic Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56, offers a good accounting of her skills. Here, in place of the usual trio of superstar soloists who bang away and try to put dimensions into this retrospective work that really are not there, the listener reaps the benefit of Kodama's close attunement to the conducting of Kent Nagano, who is her husband, and of her ability to weld the playing of violinist Kolja Blacher and cellist Johannes Moser together into a coherent whole. There are numerous other strong recordings of this work, but for a certain modest charm this one is worthy of consideration. Kodama's by-the-numbers reading of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, is less successful, as is Berlin Classics' engineering of that work, originating separately from the Triple Concerto. The work of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin is clean but otherwise not noteworthy. The Piano Concerto No. 3 gets top billing in the graphics, but the Triple Concerto leads off the program and is the real news here.

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