Beethoven - Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 5: François-Frédéric Guy

A recording that loses its momentum.

Composer: Beethoven
Repertoire: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 5, ‘Emperor’
Artists: François-Frédéric Guy (piano), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Philippe Jordan
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Instrumental
Label: Naïve V 5084

As Beethoven withdrew the dedication of the ‘Eroica’ symphony in a rage when Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor, he would not have liked the title by which his fifth piano concerto is now known. It’s an appropriate one, all the same. This performance starts well, with imperial flourishes from piano and orchestra, but the first movement loses momentum before the reprise of the introduction, and the conductor indulges in eccentric crescendos before the cadenza. In the slow movement, Guy weaves delicate patterns when the woodwind have the tune. The performance of the First Concerto is straightforward, but not as invigorating as that by Piotr Anderszewski.