Born in Argentina in 1942, Daniel Barenboim has loved an extended and distinguished profession as each pianist and conductor. Barenboim, who lately introduced that he was stepping again from dwell efficiency, has proved himself a distinguished conductor and interpreter of music from the Romantic period and past.
Key figures in Barenboim’s musical profession have included the nice conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who labelled the younger pianist a ‘phenomenon’ and invited him to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Berlin Philharmonic. Then there was the inspirational cellist Jacqueline du Pré, Barenboim’s accomplice for a lot of lauded chamber music recordings – and a 20-year marriage, till the latter’s tragic demise in 1987. Lastly, Beethoven has been one thing of a colossus in Barenboim’s profession, each on the rostrum and on the piano. He has made a number of much-admired cycles of each the Beethoven symphonies and the piano sonatas.
Listed here are a number of of Daniel Barenboim’s greatest recordings as each pianist and conductor. You may additionally get pleasure from our interview with the nice musician.
What are Daniel Barenboim’s greatest recordings as pianist?
Beethoven Cello Sonatas
Jacqueline du Pré (cello)
Barenboim recorded Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas along with his younger spouse, the peerless cellist Jacqueline du Pré. And a really advantageous cycle of performances they’re too. Recorded on the 1970 Edinburgh Competition and transmitted on BBC Radio later that yr, Barenboim and du Pré’s performances have an intimacy, spontaneity, and sense of event which are a pleasure to listen to. You may additionally need to hear the duo teaming up with violinist and buddy Pinchas Zukerman to document Beethoven’s equally beautiful Piano Trios.
As a pianist – in addition to a conductor – Daniel Barenboim is probably greatest recognized within the core Austro-German Romantic repertoire. And, certainly, as a conductor and performer of Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann he’s exhausting to beat. As a pianist, although, Barenboim was capable of flip his hand to varied composers from that period and past. Chopin’s delicate, filigree Nocturnes have benefitted from many advantageous interpretations, and Barenboim’s personal cycle positively belongs among the many greats.
Liszt: Liebesträume and many others
Daniel Barenboim proved himself a delicate interpreter of the numerous fleeting moods inside Franz Liszt’s piano music. This disc options Barenboim in nuanced, eloquent performances of the Liebesträume (together with the well-known No.3), plus the Rêves d’Amour, Consolations, Sonetti del Petrarca and Rigoletto-Paraphrase.
Beethoven: full Piano Sonatas
Barenboim has managed no fewer than 4 full recorded cycles of the Beethoven piano sonatas, the final one recorded in the course of the 2020 COVID lockdown. For our cash, the choose of the bunch is perhaps the second cycle he set down, for Deutsche Grammophon in 1984. Combining crisp articulation, poetic sensibility and dramatic energy when required, this cycle will make a advantageous addition to any Beethoven piano sonata assortment. In case you’re after a greatest recording of the Beethoven piano sonatas, you may do a lot worse.
Mozart: full Piano Concertos
Just like the Beethoven Piano Sonatas above, Mozart’s 27 Piano Concertos represent a unprecedented, endlessly absorbing physique of labor. And, as soon as once more like these sonatas, these works have been the topic of quite a few recorded cycles. We have mentioned some Mozart piano concerto greatest recordings, and you recognize who we put proper on the prime? Daniel Barenboim, enjoying with and conducting the English Chamber Orchestra, that is who.
‘For the sheer exhilaration of discovering these extraordinary works as if for the very first time, Daniel Barenboim’s first integral cycle with the English Chamber Orchestra nonetheless takes delight of place,’ says our reviewer Julian Haylock. ‘Like a first-rate, page-turning novel, these exceptional recordings from the late Sixties and early ’70s are so alive and infectiously compelling that as every concerto ends one can’t wait to maneuver on to the following instalment.’
Chopin: Piano Concertos
Staatskapelle Berlin / Andris Nelsons
Sure, extra Chopin! In 2011, Barenboim turned in a powerful recording of Chopin’s two piano concertos, with accompaniment from the Staatskapelle Berlin and conductor Andris Nelsons. ‘All the time authoritative, Barenboim is by turns swish and gutsy, an particularly good mixture within the E minor Concerto,’ mentioned our reviewer John Allison. ‘The Staatskapelle responds warmly, with fantastic woodwind solos. Within the strongly accented, dancing finales to each concertos, Barenboim leads the way in which with enjoying of flexibleness and wit.’
What are Daniel Barenboim’s greatest recordings as conductor?
Elgar Symphony No.1
Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin had already introduced us a much-praised recording of Elgar’s Second Symphony once they turned their consideration to Elgar 1. And, as soon as once more, conductor and orchestra proved to have this music (which to some may appear quintessentially English) at their fingertips.
‘The opening march is a coiled spring; as soon as the Allegro begins it has a surging, generally explosive power,’ commented our reviewer Erica Jeal. ‘The brass climax in the direction of the top of the motion is stretched out virtually to breaking level, however the Staatskapelle gamers maintain it convincingly. The element is all the time audible, even by the glowing full orchestra – the harp particularly is a pleasure.’
Bruckner: Symphony No.5
Throughout three full cycles of the symphonies – with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and Staatskapelle Berlin – Barenboim has proved himself a extremely ready Bruckner conductor. The power to tempo out the sections of rigidity and launch, and to map out the huge structure of those symphonies convincingly, is essential in Bruckner – and Barenboim, maybe due to the logical rigour that has additionally made him such a commanding pianist, is the same as the duty.
Our favorite single slice of Barenboim Bruckner is the recording of the large, solemn Fifth Symphony that he made with the Berlin Phil. Each aspect of this large symphony’s austere energy appears to be harnessed right here, and the ultimate fugal motion is overwhelming.
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Positively a Bruckner Symphony No.5 greatest recording.
‘In case you like your Brahms large, beefy and exquisite, you’ll adore this set.’ Thus wrote our reviewer Jessica Duchen about Barenboim’s opulent, big-boned traversal of the Brahms symphonies with the Berlin Staatskapelle. ‘Usually talking, the 4 symphonies emerge right here as automobiles for dramatic and infrequently tragic expression. It’s on some ranges all about attractive enjoying from Barenboim’s Berlin Staatskapelle: ocean-deep string tone, heavenly horns, woodwind that yearn, converse and mix.
Barenboim’s tempos, Jessica continues, ‘leisurely’. ‘All of the symphonies are handled with an expansive, broad-beamed strategy. This has its benefits: the ear has time to savour the small print and, in fact, that sheer sonic magnificence.’ A powerful candidate for a greatest recording of the Brahms symphonies – particularly for many who like their Brahms spacious and sonorous.
One other triumphant cycle with the Berlin Staatskapelle. Barenboim and his virtuosic orchestra show themselves the equal of every one among Beethoven’s 9 endlessly various and rewarding symphonies, from the Haydn-like sunniness and classicism of No.1, by way of the coiled rigidity and launch of No.5 and onto the transcendent drama of No.9.
Saint-Saëns Symphony No.3 ‘Organ’
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Barenboim and his Chicago Symphony give us a splendidly stirring account of Saint-Saëns’s thrilling Symphony No.3, nicknamed the ‘Organ’ Symphony due to the dramatic position performed by that instrument. Such a grandstanding work requires enjoying of nice conviction, and the orchestra reply with aplomb: the ultimate motion, specifically, is edge-of-seat stuff.
Curiously, the organ half was dubbed in individually. This strategy hasn’t all the time labored on different ‘Organ’ recordings, however right here the organ (that of Chartres Cathedral, because you ask) is labored in very skilfully, and you will not hear the joins. As thrilling and superbly executed rendition of the Saint-Saëns showboater as you may want to hear.
Hommage à Boulez
West-Japanese Divan Orchestra
They may not seem to be born collaborators, however Daniel Barenboim and the late composer/conductor Pierre Boulez nurtured a creative friendship throughout some 50 years. And this superbly curated disc is a touching aural doc of that friendship. Barenboim conducts his West-Japanese Divan Orchestra in performances of quite a lot of Boulez compositions together with Dérive 2 and Messagesquisse. Boulez himself, at a sprightly 85, conducts his Surrealist chamber cantata Le Marteau sans maître.
Pics: Getty Pictures