Throughout, not a note is out of place during these invigorating and searching readings

Beethoven’s Five Piano Concertos Album review08 May 2023

“…the ‘Emperor’, a majestic account with considered conducting, a lively orchestra, and fastidious solos from Ohlsson, an architect, a lyricist, and a dynamic purveyor of the notes, the sort of address that takes the listener into the music without performer artifice or intervention for its own sake; thus No.5 is essayed with character, a trust in – and a focus on – the music, and vivid communication, the well-balanced recording capturing enthusiastic camaraderie between the musicians and the resulting spontaneous music-making, the slow movement being especially sublime, and the Finale an exhilarating and rhythmically vital ride, nicely modulated along the way.

The B-flat Concerto… receives a sparkling and shapely outing, here owing more to Haydn than to Mozart without diminishing Beethoven’s ‘new kid’ identity, so fresh in the outer movements (the Finale delightfully articulate and perky), so deep in the central one; and it’s similar for the C-major – second if First – while acknowledging its greater scope, the grandeur of the first movement, presented ideally by Runnicles, complemented by Ohlsson and then confirmed by him by unleashing the longest of Beethoven’s three cadenzas, displayed consummately; five minutes later the orchestra returns. The Largo is raptly expressed, lovely clarinet solos from Eugene Mondie, and the Finale is frolicsome, the jazzy episode high-spirited.


Throughout, not a note is out of place during these invigorating and searching readings… a collection of performances that revive the appetite for these works while denying any notion that they can ever be taken for granted.”

Collin’s Column