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Brahms: Piano Concertos, Nos. 1 & 2 CD
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Media Type: CD
Title: CON PNO 1/2
Street Release Date: 05/09/2006
Genre: CLASSICAL COMPOSERS
Top Customer Reviews
Among the great recordings of these piano concertos rank certainly Leon Fleisher and George Szell on Sony (a violent and passionate orchestra - need one say more with a monument as Szell and his beloved Cleveland Orchestra? - and a poetic pianist as Fleisher who marvelled and sculpted these works from his childhood on), Emil Gilels and Eugen Jochum on Deutsche Grammophon (a true classic interpretation, balanced, mature, but for me just a little not passionate enough, anyway Jochum recalls this recording a year before his death as one of the special moments of his entire career), and last but not least Hélène Grimaud and Kurt Sanderling on Erato, as for the piano orchestra no.1 (a volatile and passionate brahmsian fury, a reading of genuine romance, sturm und drang, power and insight). The latter version became recently my personal beloved one for the ongoing pulse and heartbeat of miss Grimaud, not just a pianist, but a musician.
But now Decca surprises us with an ardent live version of these works with the legendary Brasilian Nelson Freire and the even more legendary 250 year old central european Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig (Mendelsohn was one of its first Kapellmeisters!) under the baton of its new conductor Riccardo Chailly: an invaluable coupling.
Chailly has proven himself as one of the utmost exciting conductors of the last fifteen years in the entire world, (e.g.Read more ›
What a gift! I had not known Nelson Freire previously. I quickly became acquainted with him through a google search and acquiring CDs of performances of him playing Schumann and Chopin. He is an extremely sensitive and intuitive performer with as good a technique as any living pianist. Riccardo Chailly came to Leipzig after being the conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, an orchestra that he had honed into the clearly world-class orchestra that it is. (I consider the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Dresden Staatskapelle, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to be the three best orchestras in the world.) The end result of this combination of the pianist and the conductor are these two superlative recordings by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
The First Piano Concerto is played with all of the struggle, the masculine sinewy sound of conflict that you hear other pianists portray. However, Nelson Freire also finds the poetry that resides in this music. The first piano concerto was written by Brahms shortly after his enthusiastic reception by Robert Schumann. A short time later, in a fit of depression, Schumann jumped off the bridge spanning the Rhine near his home in Dusseldorf. After he was taken from the water by fishermen, he was sent to an asylum in Endenich bei Bonn, where he died two years later.Read more ›
have several renditions of these beautiful works. What was said above about
the orchestra on these discs is quite true. It is beautiful,
powerful and clear. However, in my opinion in all the fast movements
the piano feels rushed, as though Freire is pushing ahead of the
orchestra. For me, this sometimes detracts from the lyricism of the lines.
Even though this offering is quite good I prefer the Emanuel Ax
performances of these concertos.
*I was told a number of times in the comments section below that I was
wrong about this music being made in the studio. That's fine, I've removed
that part of my review. However, if it was recorded live, the
engineers did a fantastic job of removing all crowd noise from the
These monumental works are exciting and beautiful and hold a special place in my heart. This recording has exciting and beautiful moments (mostly in the third movement of 1), but, given the extensive competition, not enough to justify its seemingly universal acclaim as the new benchmark. I don't hear what's so revelatory here. I've tried. Several times. Each time, I just want to listen to a different recording, whereupon I'm able to lose myself once again in these dramatic and heartbreaking pieces of music.
Some of my dissatisfaction is due to the recording, which most seem to regard as impeccable. Though I'm not a crazy audiophile, I have pretty good equipment -- stuff you can't get at Best Buy -- and, to my ear, the recording is boomy and muddled -- not crisp and clear -- with the orchestra often sounding muffled compared to the piano, especially in 2. Pop in remastered recordings from distant history (Fleischer/Szell, Richter/Leinsdorf for 2), and, wow, you can actually make out the strings and the timpani and everything else without it all sinking into bass-heavy and/or ringy noise. With those ancient recordings, it actually sounds like you're there. Ironically, with these live modern recordings, it sounds like I'm listening over the concert hall's P.A. system in the lobby because I got there late.
Another complaint is Mr. Freire's playing, which, to my ear, falls a bit short along many dimensions. I'm a stickler for technical mastery and precision.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought the Arrau/Guilini Concert 2 on EMI was dull, but for a modern version slow plus an air of self indulgence, this new DECCA recording is atrocious. Avoid! Read morePublished 15 months ago by david
I can see why this CD is so highly regarded, beautifully recorded and even more beautifully played.Published on July 29, 2014 by Peter Searby
Modernism in music is peculiarly related to Liberalism. Modernism (in music) claims to refrain from excess for the sake of 'text', while either ignoring or missing the fact that... Read morePublished on March 21, 2014 by The Southerner
I got these recordings because I remember Freire's debut recordings with Kempe and the MPO back in 1971. He showed himself then as a sensitive pianist with excellent technique. Read morePublished on March 8, 2014 by Wandering Cloud
I came to these works late - only recently, in fact. And I've listened to a couple of recordings, including the new and highly touted one by Hélène Grimaud (see my... Read morePublished on February 6, 2014 by Robert B. Lamm
This pair of performances, recorded in 2005-6, are a distillation from 'live' performances at that time. Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by I. Giles
I should be groued with those who find these performances to be perfectly okay but certainly not benchmark recordings. Read morePublished on November 18, 2012 by J. R. Trtek
At first I was spellbound by these fastidious, smooth performances and would still say that there's much to recommend them. Read morePublished on July 1, 2012 by Paul Bubny
I bought this CD because I wanted to have a nice modern recording in very good sound quality - sorry to say that I am dissappointed because altough the recording reveals a lot of... Read morePublished on May 24, 2012 by Kornél Endre Schalk, Budapest