Three great pianists of the 20th-century are brought together on this unique CD, which features live performances from 1939 and the immediate post-war years. Wilhelm Backhaus gives a superlative account of Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto in New York with the lamented Guido Cantelli offering magnificent orchestral support. Pierre Monteux and the Concertgebouw Orchestra partner the wonderful Hungarian pianist Lili Kraus in Weber’s beautiful Konzertstück – a rare recording, indeed – and Arthur Rubinstein is at his scintillating best in Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody, with the legendary Victor de Sabata and the New York Philharmonic on top form.
"...The nature of these performances more than make up in musicality what they lack in quality of recording."
"...So, whatever criterion one adopts for this triptych of live performances one thing is for sure; boredom is not on the agenda. There is one indisputably great performance – that of Backhaus. There’s an exciting pre-War survival of a glittery showpiece, and a contentious example of Rubinstein operating at white heat."