For the final instalment of his survey of Beethoven’s works for piano and orchestra, Ronald Brautigam has saved ‘the final crowning glory of his concerto output’, as Beethoven specialist Barry Cooper describes the Fifth Piano Concerto in his liner notes. It is coupled on this disc with the Choral Fantasia – an intriguing work scored for piano, orchestra and chorus with vocal soloists.
The apparently insatiable Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam continues to gobble up standard and not-so-standard Beethoven with this 2009 disc featuring the composer's Fourth Piano Concerto and the piano transcription of his Violin Concerto, a recording that should please fans of the pianist's previous Beethoven recordings. Performing on a modern concert grand rather than the fortepianos he had favored in some earlier releases, Brautigam delivers readings that sparkle in the outer movements, sing in the central movements, and never resort to technical or emotional grandstanding to make their points.
Ronald Brautigam releases his second disc of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos – this time offering a youthfully fresh Concerto No. 2 which was actually conceived long before the First Piano Concerto. The programme also includes two rarities: the Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO4, sometimes referred to as Beethoven’s ‘Concerto No.0’, and the Rondo in B flat major, WoO6, composed during the long period of composition of Concerto No.2 and probably at one stage intended as the finale of this work.
As smooth and delicious a performance of Beethoven's First Piano Concerto as has been released since the turn of the century, Ronald Brautigam's account of the work with Andrew Parrott and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra compares with Richter's for sparkle, with Pollini's for cleverness, and with Michelangeli's for liveliness. Brautigam's opening Allegro con brio has velocity and control, his central Largo expressivity and refinement, and his closing Rondo wit and whimsy.
Hans Rott was a friend of Gustav Mahler's and Hugo Wolf's in their conservatory days, and his career was to end sadly, like Wolf's, in madness probably brought on by syphilis. While traveling by rail to take up a job as a choral director, his mind gave way and he claimed that Brahms had rigged the train to explode. He never reported for work, obviously.