Colin Clarke's review of Gieseking's stereo wartime recording of Beethoven's Emperor from January 20
Posted by Ed Reichenbach on January 11, 2011, 10:43 am
While I've enjoyed Colin Clarke's review of Music & Arts CD1145 with Gieseking's recording of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto with Arthur Rother, apparently the first stereo recording of a complete work, dating from (sources differ) October 1944 or January 1945, I am at a loss to understand where he got his impression of the finale, which he describes as "dour", "deliberatly undynamic", "never exultant". Objectively, he is entirely off the mark: the movement clocks at 9:36, and this certainly qualifies as "dynamic". Compare to Horowitz-Reiner's 9:33, Leon Fleisher's and Julius Katchen's 9:36, Serkin and Walter's 9:53 (1934 with the Vienna Phil), Serkin and Bernstein's 9:55 (1962). You want "undynamic"? Go to Barenboim-Klemperer (11:01), even to Curzon-Knappertsbusch (10:25). And I don't have the timings of the recordings of Kempff or Arrau. |
Of course, subjective impressions aren't just based on tempo and timing. I'm still puzzled with Colin Clarke's subjective reaction to what he heard. What I hear is a finale that is uniquely dynamic and exultant. I think Colin Clarke needs to give it another try, and let us know if his impression is confirmed - and if so, try and analyse what the impression is so much at odds with the objective parameters.