BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73 "Emperor." Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Christoph Eschenbach, piano; Boston Symphony Orch/Seiji Ozawa, cond. (Concerto No. 5). London Symphony Orch/Hans Werner Henze, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 201 TT: 78:28

BACH: Six Brandenburg Concertos.
Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orch/Pinchas Zukerman, cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 TT: (2 disks) TT: 1:40:52

RAVEL: Le Tombeu de Couperin. Mother Goose. Valses nobles et sentimentale. Une baque sur l'ocean.
Boston Symphony Orch/Seiji Ozawa,cond.
PENTATONE SACD 5186 204 TT: 76:22

GIULIANI: Guitar Concerto No. 1 in A, Op. 30. CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Guitar Concerto No. 1 in D, Op. 99. VILA-LOBOS: Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra.
Narciso Yepes, guitar. English Chamber Orchestra (Giulian). London Symphony Orchestra/Luis Antonio Garcia Navarra, cond.

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, K. 427 "Coronation." Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat, K. 449.
Tamas Vasary, piano-condctor/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
PENTATONE SACD 5186 203 TT: 55:13


Here are five more fascinating issues in Pentatone's admirable reissues of original four-channel Deutsche Grammophon recordings (four others are mentioned on this site (REVIEW). Check that review for technical information about these recordings. Again, regardless of recording site, engineers have captured a totally natural, rich sonic perspective with ample sound from rear speakers to produce a splendid, satisfying sonic perspective.

Today is it easy to forget that Christoph Eschenbach's career began as a pianist after winning several major competitions, and this recording of the Emperor, made in 1977 displays his virtuosity. This is an admirable performance of Beethoven's mighty Emperor, and Eschenbach also displays his penchant for Beethoven in Concerto No. 3 also recorded in 1977 in which he leads he London Symphony from the keyboard. . Since then, Eschenbach;s conducting career has flourished and he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra 2003-2008, and currently leads both Orchestre de Paris and D. C.'s National Symphony.

These recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos were made in 1977 with Pinchas Zukerman conducting members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Forget about period instruments; these are modern, full-bodied instruments with rich sound, perfectly and stylishly played. Zukerman keeps the music moving nicely, and the four-channel recording offers the musicians nicely spread out in front with totally satisfying hall sound from rear speakers. There are a number of SACD recordings of this music, and this is one of the best.

This site expressed some disappointment in the Pentatone Remastered Classics Berlioz recordings with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony, not because of audio, but because of Ozawa's conducting. He is more successful in this Ravel collection of some of the composer's gentler works. Le Tombeau de Couperin is a showcase for the Boston Symphony winds. and Ozawa captures music of the magic of Mother Goose. Ravel's music sounds elegant indeed in this miraculous multi-channel sound. Again the orchestra is front, but the sound of Symphony Hall is ever apparent.

A gem in this batch of reissues is the SACD of guitar concertos of Guliani, Casteluovo-Tedesco, and Villa-Lobos featuring famed Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes, (1933-1977). He was recognized as a titan of his instrument, appeared with leading orchestras and made numerous recordings. On this disk we have his elegant performance of iuliani's Concerto No. 2, and two works by his countrymen, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Villa-Lobos. Both of these are audience favorites, and he plays them brilliantly. .The four-channel audio vividly captures the colorful orchestration of the two Spanish works. The Villa-Lobos concerto is a particular delight, and this reissue is very welcome as an early SACD on Sony played by John Williams has long been delighted. .

Hungarian pianist Támas Vásáry (b. 1933) enjoyed a remarkable career. He specialized in Mozart but also made many recordings of Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Brahms an the Racmaninoff concertos. He was a distinguished pianist in every way, also a conductor, and he can be heard in both capacities in this disk that coupes Mozart's Concertos No. 26, the Coronation concerto with the lesser-known Concerto No. 14, K. 449. He leads the Berlin Philharmonic from the keyboard, and the performances have been captured with concert-hall reality. It is unfortunate more music wasn't included; the playing time for this disk is but 55:13. Perhaps other recordings were not made in quad?

Yet to be released in this new Pentatone Quad series are: Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Schlomo Mintz and the Chicago Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado; C. P. E. Bach's Symphonies for Strings with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert; a collection of Debussy sonata performed by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; Handel's Messiah conducted by Karl Richter; Haydn works for violin and orchestra performed and conducted by Pinchas Zukerman; ; a group of selections by Fritz Kreisler played by Sclomo Mintz; Liszt's Duex Legendes and Années de Pèeringage played by Wilhelm Kempff; string quintets of Schubert and Schumann with the LaSalle Quartet; Wolf's Mörike Songs with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Boston Symphony in Stravinsk's Le Roi des Etoiles and Sacre du Printemps. Tantalizing, indeed!

R.E.B. (March 2015)