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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Beethoven: The Piano Concertos'
Artist - Vladimir Ashkenazy

For those not in the know, Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy (born 6 July 1937) is an internationally recognized solo pianist, chamber music performer, and conductor.

He is originally from Russia and has held Icelandic citizenship since 1972, and has lived in Switzerland since 1978. Ashkenazy has collaborated with well-known orchestras and soloists.

In addition, he has recorded a large storehouse of classical and romantic works. His recordings have earned him five Grammy awards plus Iceland's Order of the Falcon.

Just released via Decca Classics is Beethoven: The Piano Concertos, a wondrous 3CD+Blu-ray compilation of the complete Ashkenazy/Solti set of Beethoven concertos.

Showcasing the range of Ashkenazy’s tone, whilst allowing us to bathe in the lush spotlight of Sir Georg Solti’s accompaniment is like Heaven on a stick.

CD 1 (65:24)
PIANO CONCERTO No.1 in C Major, Op.15
1 1. Allegro con brio
2 2. Largo
3 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando)
PIANO CONCERTO No.2 in B Flat Major, Op.19
4 1. Allegro con brio
5 2. Adagio
6 3. Rondo (Molto allegro)

CD 2 (70:34)
PIANO CONCERTO No.3 in C Minor, Op.37
1 1. Allegro con brio
2 2. Largo
3 3. Rondo (Allegro)
PIANO CONCERTO No.4 in G Major, Op.58
4 1. Allegro moderato
5 2. Andante con moto
6 3. Rondo (Vivace)

CD 3 (40:05)
PIANO CONCERTO No.5 in E Flat Major Op.73 – "EMPEROR"
1 1. Allegro
2 2. Adagio un poco mosso
3 3. Rondo (Allegro)

The complete cycle is presented on a single Blu-ray Audio disc for 24-bit Hi-Resolution playback + 3 CDs.

+ Hardback book with texts in English + French + German

This breath taking 3CD + 1 Blu-ray set is a digital re-mastering at 96kHz/24-bit of the original "Stereophonic" London recordings from 1973. The sound is crisp and clear, and enhances the masterful technique of Vladimir Ashkenazy and Sir Georg Solti's well-paced leadership.

You would never know you were listening to an ADD rather than a direct digital recording. The dynamic range of this digital re-mastering is far superior to the original LPs, the pianissimos are very soft and vibrant, and the fortes take your breath away.

To be blunt, these recordings of the Beethoven piano concertos were some of the finest and now that they are on CD, and digitally remastered, well, the sound is simply superb.

The Chicago Symphony under the baton of Sir George Solti provide a wonderful backdrop to the meticulous pianism of Vladimir Ashkenazy. The pianist recorded these concertos three times, but this compilation is the most profound, in my humble opinion, of course.

In closing, I especially like the piano as Beethoven wears well on any instrument; but especially the piano. Indeed, I never tire of hearing Beethoven - whether Sonatas or Partitas, Piano Concerti or symphonies.

'Beethoven: The Piano Concertos' CD Purchase Link