beethoven piano concerto

Recently listened to Lang Lang's recording on Beethoven piano concerto 1 and 4 and liked the music a lot.

Can someone suggest some good recordings that excel both in sound and performances? LPs would be great but CD/SACD/hi-res files are welcomed too.

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I don't normally think of Arthur Rubinstein with Beethoven but for the fourth piano concerto under Eric Leinsdorf it works, and very well with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It is available on both LP and CD. Emil Gilels also did a splendid version live with Orchestra A. Scarlatti di Napoli della RAI with Massimo Pradella available as a two disc set on Melodram Live Recordins CDs. Steven Kovacevich(Bishop) also has an outstanding version of the 4th, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis. Hope that is at least on start on the fourth.
Another vote for Steven Kovacevich's 4th. In fact, Phillips has a 2-CD set of the first four Beethoven concertos by Kovacevich and all the performances are quite good. Sound is also good and the set is inexpensive, so you can give it a try without breaking the bank.
If you want LP, there is a great box set of live performances of all 5 concertos played by Alfred Brendel and the Chicago Symphony, conducted by James Levine. Fantastic performances!
Many thanks guys. I will check those out.

Any other worthwhile recordings? Keep them coming?
Second the Brendel/Levine set; excellent!
I can recommend this one:

Just received the sealed Brendel Levine set from ebay. Wonderful. Many thanks to all.
murray perahia on sony from the 80's.they're very inexpensive 10 to 12 bucks.the playing is great and the sonics are very good,considering that they're early DDD.
you would really enjoy the Fritz Reiner/Horowitz recording of the "Emperor" #5 in E-Flat. A truly inspiring performance when the Chicago Symphon yaws at its peak under Reiner and Horowitz was also playing so brilliantly. The recording is shockingly good and the CD version sounds good. If you value performance over sound you will love this one.
Just acquired a good copy (LP)of Edwin Fischer playing and Wilhelm Furtwangler conducting Beethoven's 5th piano concerto. A really amazing version well worth hearing.
I have that and I also recommend the Fischer/Philharmonia Beethoven PC #3 on a 10" Electrola.

By far the best version of his PC#1 IMHO is the ORIGINAL LP on DG performed by Arturo Benedetti Michaelangi with the Vienna Sym & Carlo Maria Guilini (circa 1980). I have the recent release on vinyl and the earlier CD, by they are dead sounding compared to the dynamically charged performance on the original LP. Find/listen to this one and you'll hear what I mean!
Sony has remaster the Fleisher Szell 3 and 4. On SACD try ax and MTT in the 4th or artur Pizarro in 3-5.
try Emil Gilels/Leopold Ludwig/Philharmonia Orchestra in #4 & #5 (EMI, recorded 1958 & 1957). remains my favorite of all... especially #4.
There 9 Gilels versions of the 4th out there, per the current issue of Fanfare magazine.
Thanks guys. So far my fav are No 4 and No 1.

Re Alfred Brendel set, it seems to be recorded out of phase. I switched polarity and the sound is more focused. Highs and lows are more defined and instruments are more easily localized. I am also experiencing the same thing with the Oslo Vanska Beethoven symphony SACD.
i'd also highly recommend Wilhelm Kempff/Paul van Kempen/BPO (DGG 1957) for LvB's Piano Concerto cycle. it's another mono recording (as Gilels/Ludwig/Philharmonia Orchestra), but the performance is simply spectacular.
I have the Kovacevich version, and while the performance is truly great and it is a very good recording, it still sounds a little bit like its age. I am also looking for a newer version at that level of performance or better, but that is audiophile quality on CD.
try Rudolf Serkin/Rafael Kubelik/Bayerishchen Rundfunks LvB piano concerto cycle (Orfeo 1977). nice (stereo) sonics & performance (but not as special as my other 2 recommendations).

other LvB piano concertos cycles which aren't quite as "moving" (for me) include Maurizio Pollini/Claudio Abbado/BPO (DGG 1992/1993), Vladimir Ashkenazy/Georg Solti/CSO (Decca 1995). also hv a bunch of other "non-full-cycle" of LvB's piano concerto recordings (on LP & CD).
Helene Grimaud did a nice Beethoven record. I can't search all of them but the Andante record label had a number of great Beethoven piano concerto recordings, most of which are historical. Andante unfortunately went out of business due to their esoteric nature and their expensive price tag. Be it to say however that the 3 and 4 disc packages were full of well written articles, notes, highlights, etc.. and that the remastering from original source tapes were second to none.
I'm amazed that no one has mentioned the performances played by Claudio Arrau with Bernard Haitink conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. I've listened to most recordings played by many well-known pianists but those mentioned performances were always my favorites.

If you're interested in the 4th piano concerto, you may want check out the performance by Wilhelm Backhaus with Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
A Wilhelm Backhaus set of remastered recordings is available on the Andante label. Also, this looks good;

Release Date: 01/02/2011
Label: Bis Catalog #: 1758
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin
Conductor: Osmo Vänskä
Orchestra/Ensemble: Minnesota Orchestra
HDTracks has released 48/24 versions of the piano concertos by Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin from Decca. They also have the 9 symphonies at 96/24 from Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Anyone have experience with these versions? These are new Decca releases as part of their Beethoven form All series. The Sonatas are scheduled to come out this Fall.
For rare live recording releases (all in mono) of Beethoven's piano concerto No.4, my collections include

1. Edwin Fischer / Eugen Jochum / Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian. It is recorded on November 8 1951. The old Fischer (66 years old then) showed his energetic interpretation. (Orfeo C 270 921 B)

2. Claudio Arrau / Otto Klemperer / Philharmonic Orchestra. It is recorded on November 3 1957. The weight Klemperer presented in this recording demonstrated his unique reading. Arrau's delicate touch of keyboard just show the subtle perspective of this piece (Testament SBT2 1351)

3. Friedrich Gulda / Vienna Symphony Orchestra. It is recorded on January 21 1953. Young (22 years old) Gulda performed this concerto without conductor. It probably more closely reflects Beethoven's youthfulness (Orfero C 745 071 B)

Happy Listening.