Martha Argerich Plays Beethoven & Ravel / Shani, Israel Philharmonic

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In the opening Allegro con brio movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2, Beethoven follows Classical rules, concentrating on the two principal subjects of a...

In the opening Allegro con brio movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2, Beethoven follows Classical rules, concentrating on the two principal subjects of a double exposition—orchestra first, the soloist next—then a development section, and finally, a recapitulation. The main themes in their cheerful confidence are distinctly Beethoven’s. However, their working out is clearly influenced not only by Haydn but also by the recently departed Mozart. The middle movement—Adagio, in E flat major—hints at the slow movement of the Fourth Concerto to come a decade later. It is, in effect, an accompanied fantasia that resembles a carefree theme and variations, with an attention-getting solo recitative-like passage at the end. The twice-rewritten finale, Molto allegro, combines sonata and rondo forms, with perhaps the nicest surprise of all saved for last: a brief solo rumination which the orchestra brusquely interrupts with a terminal tantara. Mozart may have been his model, but the spirit here is pure young Beethoven.

Far from any kind of drama, the first movement of Ravel's G Major Concerto emphasizes joy, elegance, and cheerfulness. It all starts with a crack of a whip! Ravel sets out five thematic figures with Spanish influences and glissando-like jazz sounds; “circus-like elements” are also particularly evident in his extensive use of percussion. The Adagio offers the greatest possible contrast to this. The movement is characterized by simplicity and discretion. The final movement, Presto, abruptly tears the listener away from the melancholy mood. The music unfolds at a breathtaking speed, defined by circus-like percussion. The piano-playing is determined by frantic activity, indeed, by breathlessness. The motifs are sometimes onomatopoeic, now and then syncopated, at times march-like and grotesquely distorted, but always tempestuously pressing ahead until the fanfare from the beginning abruptly ends the work.



Product Description:


  • Release Date: March 24, 2023


  • UPC: 5414706106624


  • Catalog Number: AVANTI10662


  • Label: AvantiClassic


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: Classical, 20th Century


  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven, Maurice Ravel


  • Conductor: Lahav Shani


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


  • Performer: Martha Argerich