THERE is something peculiar about this new disc from pianist Cyprien Katsaris, along with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and conductor Sir Neville Marriner.

It contains not one, but two performances of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. The first is a straightforward account from soloist and orchestra, which is a little unremarkable: I don't really get the bigness and boldness of the piece from this rather urbane performance. But the second is an arrangement of the whole piece for solo piano, made by Katsaris because of his frustration that the pianist has to wait so long before he gets to join in. Eh? That's why it's called the orchestral exposition. There's nothing wrong with Katsaris's solo version (Liszt did one too). But this account doesn't do it for me, leaving me with a serious gap in my listening experience, and aching to hear the majesty of the orchestral parts restored to their rightful place in Beethoven's most stirring and epic concerto.

Michael Tumelty

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