Sound and vision blog

06 February 2012

Recording of the Week: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4

Jonathan Summers, Curator of Classical Music, writes:


After making some discs for Polydor in Paris at the beginning of her career, Clara Haskil recorded for the newly formed British company Decca during the 1940s. This recording, her first for Decca, is notable for being the only commercial recording she made with a British orchestra and the fact that the conductor on this occasion was Italian pianist Carlo Zecchi who had been a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni. Haskil, a shy and reserved person, was not fond of making recordings but on this occasion she seems at ease and gives a fluid and controlled performance. The cadenza to the first movement shows her clarity of playing, her lightness of touch and delicacy in rapid passages. In the slow movement Haskil’s sensitivity comes to the fore in the dialogue between the forceful orchestra and pleading piano while the last movement has a lightness and rhythmic lilt helped by Zecchi’s conducting.p>

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners.


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