Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

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Dimma
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Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Dimma » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:54 pm

What is the group's opinion about Murray Perahia as an artist?
I did a search in the CMG archives and very little turned up. I presume there is a reason? I haven't listened much to Perahia's performances lately, but was charmed by his interpretations of Mozart's piano concertos w/ the ECO in the past as well as Bach's English Suites over the last decade. Amazon dropped the price on the recent Sony set drastically last Thursday in case anybody is interested. Somehow I tend to accumulate piano works...... *click*
Peter

http://www.amazon.com/Murray-Perahia--T ... ds=perahia

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:02 pm

Welcome to the Classical Music Guide! I hope we'll see many posts from you.

I have always been a fan of Perahia, partly because of his accomplishment, and partly for the extraneous reason that I can imagine being a pianist like him if I had only been slightly more this, that, and the other thing (as opposed to never being able to aspire to transcendental super-virtuosity). In short, I like his musical personality as well as his performances.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:15 pm

He's possibly the finest living pianist, I have all his recordings already so I have no reason to buy the Box Set, but I give it a wholehearted recommendation, at less that $100 everyone should grab this whilst they have chance.

And I second John's welcome to our little village...
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:24 pm

In my earlier years I quite admired a lot of what Perahia did and collected some of his Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and other recordings. I've tended to not listen to him as much though I recently bought his complete Mozart PCs. Of those that I've heard I highly recommend his Schubert impromptus, Mozart PCs and the wonderful F minor Schubert Fantas

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:34 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:In my earlier years I quite admired a lot of what Perahia did and collected some of his Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and other recordings. I've tended to not listen to him as much though I recently bought his complete Mozart PCs. Of those that I've heard I highly recommend his Schubert impromptus, Mozart PCs and the wonderful F minor Schubert Fantas
His Bach is exemplary, his Chopin is pretty good too, the Beethoven Concertos with Haitink are of the very finest quality and on a par with his Mozart.

And it's the size of his recorded legacy that made me call him our greatest living pianist, in any other discussion I would have given that honor to Ivan Moravec.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Mookalafalas » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:33 pm

I think he is so under-represented in both the threads and the media in general (in proportion to his talent and accomplishments) because he is so self-effacing. Virtuosity and humility aren't words that go together very often. He isn't even eccentric, and his interviews are terribly un-quotable. If he wasn't a brilliant pianist I think he would be a librarian--in the reference section.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:21 pm

Mookalafalas wrote:I think he is so under-represented in both the threads and the media in general (in proportion to his talent and accomplishments) because he is so self-effacing. Virtuosity and humility aren't words that go together very often. He isn't even eccentric, and his interviews are terribly un-quotable. If he wasn't a brilliant pianist I think he would be a librarian--in the reference section.
I think you are on to something. Recently I posted an interview between Charles Rosen and David Dubal, which was interesting, fascinating even, for several reasons, none of them having to do with Dubal, who seems not to have been a very good interviewer. On the YouTube page I noticed that he also did one with Perahia, so I gave it a try and was asleep after two minutes. It doesn't help that Perahia comes across a bit like Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. Judge for yourselves.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Mookalafalas » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:46 pm

jbuck919 wrote: I think you are on to something. Recently I posted an interview between Charles Rosen and David Dubal, which was interesting, fascinating even, for several reasons, none of them having to do with Dubal, who seems not to have been a very good interviewer. On the YouTube page I noticed that he also did one with Perahia, so I gave it a try and was asleep after two minutes. It doesn't help that Perahia comes across a bit like Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. Judge for yourselves.
The most wonderful person you'd never want to meet. I listened to a snippet of the interview. The description "earnestly banal" came to mind. I hope he doesn't lurk on our site; I would hate for him to read this stuff. He really seems like an extraordinarily nice person. I dislike hearing Glen Gould speak as well, for almost diametrically opposite reasons.
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Dimma
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Dimma » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:00 pm

Chalkperson wrote:He's possibly the finest living pianist, I have all his recordings already so I have no reason to buy the Box Set, but I give it a wholehearted recommendation, at less that $100 everyone should grab this whilst they have chance.

And I second John's welcome to our little village...

Thanks for the welcome Chalkperson!

Hmm, what about Maurizio Pollini as a nomination....? I am not too fond of recent recordings, but the past!!!


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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:50 pm

Dimma wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:He's possibly the finest living pianist, I have all his recordings already so I have no reason to buy the Box Set, but I give it a wholehearted recommendation, at less that $100 everyone should grab this whilst they have chance.

And I second John's welcome to our little village...

Thanks for the welcome Chalkperson!

Hmm, what about Maurizio Pollini as a nomination....? I am not too fond of recent recordings, but the past!!!

Mauricio was last seen playing Winter Cruise Ships in the Arctic, we hope he stays there...
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Dimma » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:59 pm

Really....?

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Steinway » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:34 am

Perahia may be the finest living pianist and is certainly among the top five. His playing is immaculate, his repertoire is extensive, his technical skills are without flaw and his musicality is always clearly evident in everything he plays.

I find his performances of Bach and Handel extraordinary, his Chopin Ballades without peer...the list of his very special recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert are too numerous to mention.

If I could only listen to one pianist and no other, Perahia would be my choice.

barney
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:01 am

Steinway wrote:Perahia may be the finest living pianist and is certainly among the top five. His playing is immaculate, his repertoire is extensive, his technical skills are without flaw and his musicality is always clearly evident in everything he plays.

I find his performances of Bach and Handel extraordinary, his Chopin Ballades without peer...the list of his very special recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert are too numerous to mention.

If I could only listen to one pianist and no other, Perahia would be my choice.
I'm a fan too. He's coming to Melbourne in November. I agree that his Mozart pno con set is the pinnacle, and his standard is uniformly superb whatever he plays. Sometimes I feel that the self-effacing aspect referred to above may also be apparent in the music, but I much prefer that to the opposite fault. But I don't think he's my absolute first choice in much (outside the Mozart), but he's in the top few for everything.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:59 pm

No question ... top drawer for me as well. I got the First 40 Years set for my birthday in June ... yes, lots of repetition, but a beautiful tribute to a superb pianist and wonderful gentleman. I had the pleasure of preparing his piano for concert. A real honest-to-goodness person.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:24 pm

Dimma wrote:Really....?

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Maurizio's Favourite Piano !!!
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Dimma
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Dimma » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:03 am

It is interesting to see how many of you that admire Perahia as an artist. In that light I find it peculiar that so few posts include his name (doing a search does not bring up much). Does it go back to that he is a high quality artist, but lack some type of charisma? The box is definitely inviting. I listened to his Chopin (Sonatas 2 & 3) and enjoyed them quite a bit. Looking forward to revisit all those blazing Mozart concertos later on.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:16 am

Dimma wrote:It is interesting to see how many of you that admire Perahia as an artist. In that light I find it peculiar that so few posts include his name (doing a search does not bring up much). Does it go back to that he is a high quality artist, but lack some type of charisma? The box is definitely inviting. I listened to his Chopin (Sonatas 2 & 3) and enjoyed them quite a bit. Looking forward to revisit all those blazing Mozart concertos later on.
He always comes up in our favourite pianist lists, but he took a break from recording and, as you say, is quite anonymous in nature, both on and off the stage, but, trust me the piano connoisseurs at CMG regard him very highly.

The Threads on pianists here usually end up being about Horowitz, Rubinstein, Richter and others of their ilk, Hamelin comes up now and then but Perahia is rarely mentioned as a Thread topic.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Dimma » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:45 pm

The box is currently $69 at Amazon.com!!!!!
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_ ... rahia%2040

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barney
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:01 am

Chalkperson wrote:
Dimma wrote:It is interesting to see how many of you that admire Perahia as an artist. In that light I find it peculiar that so few posts include his name (doing a search does not bring up much). Does it go back to that he is a high quality artist, but lack some type of charisma? The box is definitely inviting. I listened to his Chopin (Sonatas 2 & 3) and enjoyed them quite a bit. Looking forward to revisit all those blazing Mozart concertos later on.
He always comes up in our favourite pianist lists, but he took a break from recording and, as you say, is quite anonymous in nature, both on and off the stage, but, trust me the piano connoisseurs at CMG regard him very highly.

The Threads on pianists here usually end up being about Horowitz, Rubinstein, Richter and others of their ilk, Hamelin comes up now and then but Perahia is rarely mentioned as a Thread topic.
Just back from a Perahia concert. Not anonymous at all. The fastest Appassionata I have ever heard - and I've heard dozens - filled with interesting effects and not a false note. Also riveting Schumann and idiosyncratic Chopin.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Istvan » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:05 am

The 1940s produced most of our greatest living pianists: Barenboim, Pollini, Uchida, Lupu, Perahia, Argerich, Bishop Kovacevich. Extraordinary - and what is more they also produced me, the world's worst pianist.
Cheers

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Klipspringer » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:22 pm

This is a great thread. Inspired by the conversation, I was surfing around the internet for Murray Perahia trivia and whatnot, and I came across this:

http://vanrecital.com/concert/murray-perahia-2/

So now I will get to see and hear him!

Thanks so much CMG!

Chris

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Mookalafalas » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:22 am

I just wanted to mention that i've been watching the DVDs, and they are substantial (unlike the new Horowitz box, with a DVD containing about 16 minutes total music :( )
There are 5 dvds, and I think they are all well over one hour. One is the complete Wintereisse with Fischer-Dieskau singing. Another has a lot of clips of him rehearsing a performance as conductor (intercut with an interview, followed by the final performance). That may be dull to many, but I found it fascinating. Most were prepared for British TV, two from the early 70s. The older ones have a distinctly "shot on video" quality, but the sound on all is excellent. He is by no means a dynamic performer(IMO), but they are fine performances and a real bonus to what is already an amazing value.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by jserraglio » Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:15 pm

Mookalafalas wrote:I just wanted to mention that i've been watching the DVDs, and they are substantial (unlike the new Horowitz box, with a DVD containing about 16 minutes total music :( )
There are 5 dvds, and I think they are all well over one hour. One is the complete Wintereisse with Fischer-Dieskau singing. Another has a lot of clips of him rehearsing a performance as conductor (intercut with an interview, followed by the final performance). That may be dull to many, but I found it fascinating. Most were prepared for British TV, two from the early 70s. The older ones have a distinctly "shot on video" quality, but the sound on all is excellent. He is by no means a dynamic performer(IMO), but they are fine performances and a real bonus to what is already an amazing value.
This box is now selling for $63 + S-H at importcds.com. Too tempting to resist for 68 CDs & 5 DVDs

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:42 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mookalafalas wrote:I just wanted to mention that i've been watching the DVDs, and they are substantial (unlike the new Horowitz box, with a DVD containing about 16 minutes total music :( )
There are 5 dvds, and I think they are all well over one hour. One is the complete Wintereisse with Fischer-Dieskau singing. Another has a lot of clips of him rehearsing a performance as conductor (intercut with an interview, followed by the final performance). That may be dull to many, but I found it fascinating. Most were prepared for British TV, two from the early 70s. The older ones have a distinctly "shot on video" quality, but the sound on all is excellent. He is by no means a dynamic performer(IMO), but they are fine performances and a real bonus to what is already an amazing value.
This box is now selling for $63 + S-H at importcds.com. Too tempting to resist for 68 CDs & 5 DVDs
You are right. I have just gone to imports CD and bought it. Thanks for jogging me - it had been a vague intention for a while. Our opera critic bought it and has been raving for weeks. I think the Winterreise DVD alone would almost be worth that price.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:51 pm

And then I followed up by going to Amazon and buying the Met Wagner box, 25 CDs for $35, none of which versions I have complete!

Have to turn off the computer before I splurge on the Toscanini box.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Mookalafalas » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:21 am

barney wrote: Have to turn off the computer before I splurge on the Toscanini box.

You won't kick yourself for buying the Toscanini, but rather for NOT buying the Toscanini. ($1 a disc, come on!)

BTW, I falsely badmouthed the Horowitz box for having a 16 minute DVD--that was wrong, it's the excellent Sony Liszt box that has the 16 minute video of Horowitz playing Lizst.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by jserraglio » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:27 am

Dimma wrote:The box is currently $69 at Amazon.com!!!!!
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_ ... rahia%2040

Image

price drop: currently $55.49 on amazon. shipped free. I just received the set and am enjoying MPs playing, as is my spouse, no classical music acolyte.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by John F » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:56 am

The only Perahia records I have are some of the Mozart concertos, which he plays with attractive lyricism and refinement. Since I want more than that in my Mozart, and already had recordings of all the concertos, I didn't collect them all. About 10 years ago I went to a Perahia recital and while his playing was somewhat more dynamic than in the Mozart, I didn't hear much in it that was special. Others have, I guess.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:33 am

John F wrote:The only Perahia records I have are some of the Mozart concertos, which he plays with attractive lyricism and refinement. Since I want more than that in my Mozart, and already had recordings of all the concertos, I didn't collect them all. About 10 years ago I went to a Perahia recital and while his playing was somewhat more dynamic than in the Mozart, I didn't hear much in it that was special. Others have, I guess.
That is very faint praise for one of the most lyrical and sensitive Mozartians I have heard. I imagine this has come up before, but who - consistently - excels Perahia in your view? If the question is too broad, take K595 and K466, my favourite two.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by John F » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:03 am

barney wrote:
John F wrote:The only Perahia records I have are some of the Mozart concertos, which he plays with attractive lyricism and refinement. Since I want more than that in my Mozart, and already had recordings of all the concertos, I didn't collect them all. About 10 years ago I went to a Perahia recital and while his playing was somewhat more dynamic than in the Mozart, I didn't hear much in it that was special. Others have, I guess.
That is very faint praise for one of the most lyrical and sensitive Mozartians I have heard. I imagine this has come up before, but who - consistently - excels Perahia in your view? If the question is too broad, take K595 and K466, my favourite two.
If Murray Perahia's recordings were the only ones, I'd be pretty happy with them. But Mozart's piano concertos have been recorded by many, many pianists over the last 80 years or so, and while none is equally persuasive in all of them, I have personal choices for many of the concertos, including the two you mention.

For #27 my clear first choice is Clifford Curzon with Benjamin Britten conducting. They make the most of the emotional interplay between piano and orchestra in the slow movement, which comes across as deeply sad - as if the piano were a controlled face presented to the outside world and the orchestra were the feelings not allowed to show.



I don't have one preferred recording for #20, but Rudolf Serkin with George Szell is certainly among those I'd choose for the concerto's intensity and high drama.



What do you think?
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:33 pm

Perahia's Mozart Concerto recordings were a complete set, can John suggest anyone who ever made a better traversal than Perahia...
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by John F » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:54 pm

I can't, but I don't have to. Why should any one pianist record every single Mozart piano concerto? Mozart himself probably didn't play them all; he composed a few for other pianists and there's no certainty that he ever played them himself. I believe in matching a performer's temperament and affinity to the music. The two contrasting concertos barney mentioned are an excellent case in point. I also collect recordings one by one, not en masse, out of respect for the music and its needs. I've collected records one by one, not en bloc, and while I understand that the latter is easier and often less expensive, I think it's seldom justified musically.

I do make some exceptions, when an artist has lived with such a repertoire and performed it often enough to have formed and developed a considered interpretation of each work in its own right. For example, I own complete Beethoven sonata cycles by Artur Schnabel and Wilhelm Kempff. But they are special cases, at least for me.
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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:02 pm

I have 22 accounts of K595, though this includes some duplication. I have Curzon with Britten, Kertesz and Szell. The version you suggest is right up in my pantheon, one of my very favourite recordings, full stop. I remain deeply attached to the version with which I really got to know the work, the Gilels account which is also a revered performance.

With K466, perhaps the most recorded concerto, I have about 35 recordings but not - strangely - the one you recommend, though I know it is also highly acclaimed. I will listen to it. Curzon/Britten are very fine here; I also like all 3 different Brendel versons, Haskil, Fischer, Perahia. I see I have Richter, but don't remember that so must listen to that too.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by barney » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:04 pm

John F wrote:I can't, but I don't have to. Why should any one pianist record every single Mozart piano concerto? Mozart himself probably didn't play them all; he composed a few for other pianists and there's no certainty that he ever played them himself. I believe in matching a performer's temperament and affinity to the music. The two contrasting concertos barney mentioned are an excellent case in point. I also collect recordings one by one, not en masse, out of respect for the music and its needs. I've collected records one by one, not en bloc, and while I understand that the latter is easier and often less expensive, I think it's seldom justified musically.

I do make some exceptions, when an artist has lived with such a repertoire and performed it often enough to have formed and developed a considered interpretation of each work in its own right. For example, I own complete Beethoven sonata cycles by Artur Schnabel and Wilhelm Kempff. But they are special cases, at least for me.
Your approach is perfectly reasonable, but with a corpus like the Mozart piano concertos I enjoy seeing how different pianists approach the development of Mozart's genius, because the concertos are delightful from K271 on, but K413-15 are very different from K491 or 595. The same applies to the Beethoven sonatas, and a couple of other areas.

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Re: Murray Perahia- The First 40 Years

Post by John F » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:12 pm

barney wrote:With K466, perhaps the most recorded concerto, I have about 35 recordings but not - strangely - the one you recommend, though I know it is also highly acclaimed. I will listen to it. Curzon/Britten are very fine here; I also like all 3 different Brendel versons, Haskil, Fischer, Perahia. I see I have Richter, but don't remember that so must listen to that too.
One of the tricky parts to bring off is the main theme of the last movement, especially right at the beginning. The upward arpeggio needs to be forceful, to take off like a rocket (say an ICBM :)), but often it doesn't. Serkin gets it right. Also, the tutti right after the opening theme is prophetic of "Don Giovanni," which was two years in the future; to my ears, it's most effective from opera conductors like George Szell or Bruno Walter with experience in bringing off dramatic music.

I hadn't heard Gilels playing the B flat concerto, but there are two performances on YouTube, from Vienna and Moscow, so I had a listen. Sorry, not for me. In the slow movement, Gilels's teasing ritards in the ultra-simple theme don't help it, and both conductors keep cool heads where Britten brings out the anguish. Different tastes, I suppose.
John Francis

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