Zum Konzert am 12. August 1970 in London


Daily Telegraph, London, 13. August 1970

Beethovenís Scottish jewels

We must be mad to ignore Beethovenís arrangements of Scottish and Irish folk songs. Daniel Barenboim presented a discerningly selected group of these priceless jewels at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night.

No less well chosen was the soloist, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a good sport and always game when it comes to musical adventures, whilst the accompanying piano trio was completed by Pinchas Zukerman and Jacqueline du Prť.

Beethoven performed these labours purely for financial gain and isnít it lucky that he needed the money. The combination of hearty folkore and spare comment betraying a ne plus ultra of artistic sophistication and intelligence in unique.

Surely it is here that we encounter for the first time the characteristics of his late, third period.

He did some good ones for piano solo, too, but when they are sung so fetchingly, and in English, and when the accompaniments include fiddling, top and bass, of so much wit and good humour, a whiff of the tavern heightens the joys of Elysium.

*

The concert had opened with a glorius performance of Beethovenís Piano Trio, Op. 70, in E flat, and here the palm must go to Mr. Barenboim. With an unfailingly discreet left hand and a bright, lively right that proved the true partner of the strings, he created ideal conditions for this notorious chamber combination.

Consequently the players seemed as if intoxicated by the sound of their instruments, which immediately put them in the right mood to capture the noble elatednes of this work.

Mr. Barenboim, in great form, played most beautifully if a little too retiringly, as he will in lieder, for Mr. Fischer-Dieskau in a group of early Webern songs, recently discovered and the first of them, "Am Ufer," very striking.

Peter Stadlen

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