BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 19. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73 "Emperor. Fantasy in C for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 80. BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83. SCHUMANN: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54. SCHENBERG: Piano Concerto, Op. 42. BARÓK: Piano Concerto No.1. Piano Concerto No. 2. NONO: Como Una Ola De Fuyuerza Y Luz (for soprano, piano, orchestra and tape).
Maurizio Pollini, piano. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Bavarian Radio Orchestra/Claudio Abbado, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 002462202 (9 disls)

A meeting of two giants! Claudio Abbado and Maurizio Pollini have collaborated often over the years and this fine compiloation offers all of their recordings of concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, Beethoven's Choral Fantasuy, the first two Bartók concertos, concertos of Schumann and Schoenberg, and a dubious filler, Nono's Como Una Ola De Fuyuerza Y Luz. The latter is the earlist recording made in Munich in 1973. Chronologically next is the Brahms Concerto No. 2 with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1976. The two Bartók concertos were recorded in Chicago in 1977.The first four Beethoven concertos are live recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic from concerts in December 1982; Concerto No. 5 also eatures the Berlin Philharmonic, in studio sessions the following month. The Fantasy also was recorded that month, but in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic. Schumann's concerto, also with the Berlin Philharmonic, was made in 1989, the Schoenberg a year earlier. Pollini reorded both Brahms concertos with the Berlin hilharmoni, No. 1 in April 1997 (CD notes say this was recorded iin Vienna's usikverein?).Concerto No. 2 was recorded in December 1995. The Schoenberg and Schumann concertos, with the Berlin Philharmonic date from 1988 and 1989.

Abbado always had a keen interest in new music, but it is difficult to understand his

championing music of Luigi Nono ( 1924 - 1990). Included here is his Como Una Ola De Fuyuerza Y Luz, "like a wave of strength and light.” Originally it was to be a piano concerto, but Nono then added a soprano and, for the first time, electronic acoustic sound. The recorded tape sounds are evident throughout. This is a a 20-minute nightmare of ugly sound, "a labyrinth of shadowy dissonance and tactile timbres," that will grate on y0ur ears. Abbado included Nono's Hölderlin from Prometheus. in his superb Berlin Philharmonic concert called Prometheus (REVIEW). Hölderlin is equally offensive, a blot on an otherwise superb concert. It is difficult to understand any Abbado could take this mess seriously - but he obviously does. Perhaps you will, too.

This 8-dusk set contains a 28-opge booklet with illustrations. It is not a super-budget issue, but very reasonably priced. If you have Abbado's superb DGG set of Beethoven symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic, this will make a fine companion‚ and you'll probably skip the Nono.

R.E.B. (April 2016)