I recently heard the last 2 movements of the Beethoven 3d Piano Concero on
the radio and was amazed. I had no idea who was before the public at
present who played the piece this well. What particularly grabbed me was how
rich the piano tone was, how clear the various piiano voices and orchestral
parts were and how well the whole thing sounded together.
Imagine my surprise. It was Leon Fleisher, George Szell and the Cleveland
Orchestra, made in 1959.
After a bit of investigation, I learned it was a new, 2012 24 bit ransfer
from Sony. I orderd the box of the 5 Beethoven and two Brahms Concerti that
night. When it arrived, it also proved to contain the Brahms Handel
Variations, the op. 39 Waltzes and Mozarrt's 25th Concerto.
I'm playing the 3d now through my office listening set-up. It's far more
than the radio disclosed.
Though I've yet to see a review that addresses it, this is clearly (!) a
huge improvement over all previous releases in any format.
I am assuming they've used Capstan as there is no wow or flutter- something
to which my my ear is particulary sensitive. The crispness of the sound
indicates corrections to problems caused by slight misphasings, firmly and
distinctly positioning the instruments within the orchestra. A slight cut
made here at about 2700 cycles allows the piano to sound completely
equalized throughout its range with no notes suddenly sticking out. The
occassional buzzy noise I used to think were defects in the recording are
now revealed as piano problems. I can't hear any tape hiss at all. The only
negative is that the time between movements is often too short and unrelated
to the music's pulse.
Oh, yes. Setting aside a few missed notes in a few of the more elaboate
passages, the 3d is a terrific performance. They are well enough known by
now not to require a review.
The digital millenium has arrived. More! More!