MIDEM Classical Award Concerto Winner 2010; Gramophone: outstanding.
Hybrid Disc (SACD Surround / SACD Stereo / CD Stereo)Released in 2008, Beethoven’s First and Third Piano Concertos as interpreted by Ronald Brautigam and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Parrott (BIS-SACD-1692) have been making an impression on critics all over the world. The freshness of the performances have struck many, for instance the reviewer in the German magazine Fono Forum who wrote: ‘Here Mozartian grace and Haydnesque wit join hands – and both concertos gain from it, in the flowing, breathing pulse, in intimacy, in nobility and unassuming beauty … a great moment.’ His colleague in Fanfare (USA) was in complete agreement, writing that ‘the music is unshackled from the dark and heavy blanket that so many performances impose on the score ... a unique and, perhaps, revelatory take on the music.’ Teaming up again, the same performers now offer us the youthfully fresh Concerto No. 2 – which was actually conceived long before the First Piano Concerto – as well as two rarities. The first of these is the Piano Concerto in E flat major, WoO4, sometimes referred to as Beethoven’s ‘Concerto No.0’. Composed in 1784, when Beethoven was only 13 years old, it is a fully developed three-movement work that displays much imagination, harmonic control and sense of form, as well as a striking level of virtuosity. The work has survived in a contemporary copy of the piano part, incorporating directions showing that the original orchestra consisted of two flutes, two horns, and strings. For this recording Ronald Brautigam has made his own reconstruction of the orchestral score. The third work on the disc is also one without opus number, namely the Rondo in B flat major, WoO6, composed during the long gestation of Concerto No.2 and probably at one stage intended as the finale of this work.