So much has been said and written about Glenn Gould’s Bach recordings that most classical music listeners have not paid attention to his fabulous renditions of the Beethoven piano concertos. We at Impex are hoping to change this. Once you hear Gould’s magnificent pianism and the inspired conducting of Leonard Bernstein in the vast acoustical space of the Manhattan Center, we are certain that Gould’s Beethoven piano concertos will take their rightful place alongside his celebrated Goldberg Variations.
Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto is often overshadowed by the more-often-reissued fifth (Emperor) piano concerto. Unlike the showy fifth, the fourth is a more personal work, one that shows a more spiritual Beethoven. After hearing numerous workaday renditions of the Beethoven concertos, we tend to look for inspired performances. No recording by Glenn Gould is uninspired. Much like his companion on this recording, Leonard Bernstein, Gould is often erratic, but never boring, and his Beethoven Fourth brings a fresh light to this favorite composition. The new Impex 180-gram pressing will make it a favorite of audiophiles.
It wasn’t Woodstock when Beethoven premiered his Fourth Piano Concerto, but it might have been the single greatest classical concert in the history of Western music. By 1808 Beethoven was the darling of Vienna. The big event, at the Theater an der Wien, also included the world premier of both his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, parts of his C major Mass, his Choral Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, and the aria “Ah, perfido,” Op. 65. For good measure, Beethoven threw in a few lengthy improvisations.