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Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1 · Three Intermezzi / Andsnes · Birmingham SO · Rattle [Import]

Johannes Brahms , Simon Rattle , Leif Ove Andsnes , City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $39.90 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: Johannes Brahms, Simon Rattle, Leif Ove Andsnes, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Audio CD (November 17, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Angel Records
  • ASIN: B00000DFNY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,026 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Maestoso
2. II. Adagio
3. Rondo. Allegro Non Troppo
4. I. Andante Moderato
5. II. Andante Non Troppo E Con Molta Espressione
6. III. Andante Con Moto

Editorial Reviews

This performance of the Piano Concerto won't be to everyone's taste. Leif Ove Andsnes, who has a decided point of view on the music, plays with his emphasis on the lyrical aspects of the music. He could obviously play the heroic outbursts of the first movement as strongly as he wants to, but he downplays them somewhat to keep them in context. You can get more excitement in other places, but only Curzon and Moravec have made this concerto such a poetic, emotional experience. Simon Rattle and the orchestra second Andsnes's viewpoint very convincingly. The Intermezzi, already elegiac in tone, are particularly affecting as Andsnes plays them; this "bonus" could easily be worth the price of the disc. --Leslie Gerber

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Leif Ove Andsnes is a technically facile, poetically inclined young pianist who seems to regard music making as a communication with the composer, and the evidence of this has rarely been more evident than on this very fine CD that couples his performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor with three of Brahms' Intermezzi for piano alone. While there are many performances of this concerto on recordings, certainly this Andsnes collaboration with Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra now ranks among the finest.

Leif Ove Andsnes approaches this concerto with a sense of profound respect, and that is to say that his interpretation seems less about startling the audience than about finding the poetry of the work. His technical ability is equal or superior to his colleagues and he is able to produce the lightning flashes of the fast sections with accuracy and subtle phrasing. In the slower portions he allows the poetry to sing without 'over-romanticizing' the passages. This is a wholly satisfying account of this concerto. And the three Intermezzi Andsnes adds as an encore are simply eloquent.

The Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes is currently touring the US in both recitals and in performances with the major orchestras. At a recent concert with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall he offered his interpretation of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, the concerto he is featuring on this current tour. This listener has rarely heard the complete perfection of collaboration that Andsnes and Salonen created in this performance. All of the power of the first two movements was exciting and yet never 'over the top' - the temptation many pianists embrace.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bold, adventurous account September 26, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sir Simon saw the need to remake the Brahms First Cto with the Belin Phil. and Krystian Zimerman last year, but listening to this bold, adventurous account that he did years earlier in Birmingham, I wonder if that was wise. Zimerman and Rattle feed off each other's predileciton for fussiness and micromanaging of phrases, while in this reading that is kept to a minimum. I had never completely warmed up to Andsnes in the half dozen or so CDs of his that I've sampled, but he's tremendous here -- in total command technically, making comparisons to Horowitz actually credible.

The CBSO isn't a world-class orchestra, and the strings turn a bit thin and screechy during the most difficult loud passages in the opening. After that, however, they join in perfect synch with the joyous conception shared by conductor and soloist. When British critics swoon over every note Rattle conducts, I turn a skeptical ear, but this time the raptures are justified. This is a great recording of a notoriously cumbersome piece. Nothing sounds awkward here, however -- the concerto feels like a masterpiece from beginning to end.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely interpretation March 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is a wonderful performance of Brahms Piano Concerto #1 with excellent playing by both Leif Ove Andsnes and the Birmingham Symphony conducted by Simon Rattle. The Maestoso and Rondo movements are powerfully dramatic without sounding crazed or out of control. The Adagio is serene and expressive, and absent of syrupy-ness. Andsnes gives a brilliant, very natural-sounding interpretation, and Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony do an admirable job of supporting him.
The recording quality is excellent throughout. One doesn't get the sense of the soloist being artificially amplified, as is the case with so many concerto recordings. This sounds as if you are sitting in the hall listening. It seems to truly take advantage of the Compact Disc's excellent dynamic range.
Brahms's Three Intermezzi at the end of the CD are delightful and profound. Andsnes always does a marvelous job of letting the compositions guide his performance. When listening, you get a sense of the composer's voice coming through the music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical September 3, 2005
Format:Audio CD
It is hard for me to comment on the concerto; I think that other reviewers have done so quite ably and I can't think of any more to add to their astute observations.

The intermezzi are what really made me fall in love with Leif Ove. I have a recording of Horowitz playing No. 2, and I find him a bit too smooth, even glib. On this recording, however, Leif Ove seems to have distilled the essence of the compositions. I feel that he plays them not so much as performance pieces but rather as introspections or meditations - the liner notes describe the intermezzi as an eavesdropping on someone's private grief, and nowhere more so than in Leif Ove's hands. Yet he exhibits immaculate control, a total lack of sentimentality or overwrought emotion.

In short, this CD is well worth your consideration and dollars.
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