Piano Concertos 1-5 - Paul Lewis, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Belohlavek Harmonia Mundi HMC 902053.55 (three discs)
There are parallels with the 1970s Kovacevich cycle: keen young Beethoven pianist (students respectively of Myra Hess/Alfred Brendel) partnered with older, principal conductor of the BBC SO – though Colin Davis had the LSO for No.5. Both soloists opt for glissando octaves at the recapitulation of 1(i), and play the longer Beethoven cadenzas in Nos.1 and 4. Lewis’s earnest mastery of these scores is arresting and impressive, notwithstanding a couple of idiosyncratic slowings in the finales of 1 and 2. He is promptly accompanied by the BBC SO, although Bělohlávek fails to create a rapt atmosphere in 5(ii), and his speeding at the very end of No.1 is questionable
Sound Quality: 79%
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