Beethoven: The Concertos

Beethoven: The Concertos
Stephen Kovacevich; Hermann Krebbers; Arthur Grumiaux
Catalogue No.

Like the Beethoven symphonies, his concertos form a cornerstone of the standard classical repertoire and collected together here, on four discs, are all his major concertos in stellar performances. From the Haydnesque first concertos, to the serene calm, poise and beauty of the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Violin Concerto, to the swagger of the Fifth (‘Emperor’), these are undisputed masterpieces all. The performances are all critically acclaimed – the Kovacevich/Davis partnership in the Piano Concertos, Krebbers and Haitink in the Violin Concerto and Grumiaux in the two Romances, slow movements in search of a full-length concerto, if you will, dating from c.1798-1801. By way of a curiosity is added the Piano Concerto in E flat, WoO 4, which has come down to us only in sketch form and is reconstructed by Willi Hess. Also included is Beethoven’s ‘tribute’ to the Baroque concerto grosso in the form of his Triple Concerto, with Arrau, Szeryng and Starker as the stellar soloists.



Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5
Stephen Kovacevich, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis

Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO 4( reconstr. by Willy Hess)
Lidia Grychtolowna, piano
Heinz Dressel

Violin Concerto
Herman Krebbers, violin
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink

Violin Romances Nos. 1 & 2
Arthur Grumiaux, violin
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink

Triple Concerto
Claudio Arrau, piano
Henryk Szeryng, violin
Janos Starker, cello
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Eliahu Inbal

Recording information

Recordings: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, May 1969 (Piano Concerto No. 5), September 1970 (Piano Concerto No. 1), April 1971 (Piano Concerto No. 3); Wembley Town Hall, London, UK, September 1970 (Triple Concerto), December 1974 (Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4); Grote Zaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 1960 (Violin Romances), December 1973 (Violin Concerto); Phonogram Studios, Hamburg, Germany, 1967 (Piano Concerto WoO 4)


‘outstanding performances … There is the absolute clarity and sparkle of his fingerwork, the magical hush of [Kovacevich’s] soft playing, the captivating gradation of tone when he moves in a short phrase from brilliance to deep tenderness … Above all, the records are distinguished by the rapport between soloist and conductor. Neither is a sensation-seeking artist; both have the integrity that puts the music first, so that you can be sure you are hearing Beethoven as they feel he intended.’ (Piano Concertos) Gramophone

‘Krebbers gives a finely lyrical performance, yet also one with nobility, which takes its place among those by Grumiaux and Suk – and no praise could be higher than that … Krebbers’s fine performance shows great musicianship, all based on an impeccable technical skill – not a note is hesitantly placed. As both soloist and orchestra sound forward, the balance is good’ (Violin Concerto) Gramophone

‘The high spot is the slow movement; in particular, Starker’s exquisite playing of his melody at the start. This is really beautiful.’ (Triple Concerto) Gramophone