Beethoven Piano Cto. No. 4 in G Major Op. 58
Beethoven Violin Cto. in D Major Op. 61

Conrad Hansen, piano
Erich Röhn, violin

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - 1943 and 1944

The Violin Concerto comes from the last concert in the old Philharmonie, before being destroyed by bombs. The sound quality is one of the best of all the recordings from the wartime period and the results are stunning. Curiously, the volume of the recording was increased after a few bars. In this mastering, these first bars have been raised to the level of the rest of the work. Another problem that had to be addressed was that the soloist was rather closely miked and has a different perspective from the orchestra. This has required that the equalization be slightly adjusted between the orchestral tuttis and the parts when the soloist is playing.

I must confess that I often have problems with the concerto form due to the concessions that have to be made to showing off the soloist. There is nothing of this here, which makes it my favorite interpretation of this work, perhaps because the soloist is not a virtuoso, but rather the concertmaster of the orchestra. The result is, perhaps, the most symphonic performance of this work on record, imbued with the symphonic vision of none other than Furtw?ngler.

Perhaps there are greater performances of the Piano Concerto from greater pianists. However, this one has Furtwängler conducting at the top of his form and this, in itself, makes this worth having. There is a strange situation with the first chord of the second movement, appearing in all the sources, which sounds completely different from the rest. I have tried, as much as possible, to make it sound compatible with what follows. I do not understand what may have happened.

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