On February 17, 2010 I had the pleasure to meet and interview pianist Berenika, as posted earlier at my Blog.
Today, some three weeks later, I was able to devote some time to carefully listen to Berenika’s recorded performance of an important masterpiece: The Concerto #3 for Piano and Orchestra by Ludwig van Beethoven. In this CD, the supporting orchestra is the Sinfonietta Cracovia, conducted by John Neal Alxelrod.
I must say that I was impressed with the performance form several perspectives:
First of all, what came through for me was the authoritative nature of this performance. Right from the entry of the piano in the first movement, this authority is clear: The entry runs by the piano as often played in a muffled sound by other pianists, are crystal clear here! And the listener immediately sits up and takes notice. There is also a fine orchestral accompaniment as led by Mr. Axelrod in a strong supportive role.
A similar authority came through for me in the first movement cadenza. I liked the diversity of dynamics here which made this well-known cadenza come across effectively.
The Largo (slow movement) opens with the piano alone, rather than with a long orchestral introduction that Beethoven wrote in the first movement. Here, Berenika set an appropriate, hushed and properly slow tempo. It seems to me that many pianists play this movement too fast; not so in this case. The mood of this movement is clearly somber, and it is up to pianist to create it from the very start. And so it is in this recording. Nicely done!
We are back to a rapid pace in the final movement, Rondo. Here, too, it is up to Berenika to set the stage, because the pianist starts things off immediately. Again that *authority* comes through, and makes the concluding movement so effective.
The Symphony #1 of Beethoven is the second Beethoven work on this CD. This is a fine addition to any music library.
Click below to hear Berenika play and also speak about her music!