Beethoven: Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 1 (CD)

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Martha Argerich, Mito Chamber Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa

The first official joint recording from legendary artists Seiji Ozawa and Martha Argerich features the performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s First Symphony with the Mito Chamber Orchestra.

Ozawa and Argerich first performed together nearly 40 years ago in October 1979 when Argerich made her sensational Boston Symphony debut – her rendition of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto was described as “incendiary” by the Boston Herald. Although their performances have lit up the international concert stage and their friendship has grown since then, the pair have never officially recorded together until now. Beethoven’s First Symphony and First Piano Concerto marks a significant moment in recording history.

This new landmark Beethoven recording is Ozawa’s first release since his 2015 Grammy award-winning Ravel album and is also the first international release by Ozawa and the Mito Chamber Orchestra: a hand-picked ensemble of international players drawn from Japan, Europe, and North America. The orchestra was established in 1990 under Ozawa’s direction and has collaborated with some of the world’s most celebrated musicians – from Szymon Goldberg to Mstislav Rostropovich, Andras Schiff to Ton Koopman. “Whenever I am working with them,” says Ozawa, “I feel I have an invaluable opportunity – as have the orchestra’s musicians – to reflect on what it really means to ‘do music’ once again.”

Seiji Ozawa first recorded a Beethoven symphony half a century ago (the Fifth with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1968). He studied Beethoven with Hideo Saito, the celebrated Japanese conductor, cellist, and teacher who had studied in Berlin and Leipzig in the late 1920s with Emmanuel Feuermann among others. Ozawa famously went on to study with Herbert Von Karajan in Berlin and was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant at the New York Philharmonic in the early 1960s.

Martha Argerich continues to be one of the most extraordinary pianists performing today. Together with Seiji Ozawa, this formidable duo brings spontaneity and insight into Beethoven’s work.

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Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
1. I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
2. II. Andante cantabile con moto
3. III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
4. IV. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
5. I. Allegro con brio
6. II. Largo
7. II. Rondo. Allegro scherzando