One of my favourite pieces today, the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. Here we have the second movement, in a recording by Emil Gilels with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eugen Jochum.
Against some stiff competition, this remains my favourite recording of the work (though Radu Lupu gave it a run for its money in a live performance with the LSO / Colin Davis I attended at the Barbican back in 2002).
Listen to the piano’s final entrance, from 12’02” onwards, the delicate falling notes from 12’18” and the trills from 13′ leading to the hushed re-entry of the orchestra. Magical.
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More Brahms, and more Maurizio Pollini at the keyboard. Stick with it, there are rewards to be had. An older recording today, this time of Brahms’ somewhat underrated Second Piano Concerto.
Featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the late Claudio Abbado.
There is some truly fine Brahms playing going on here. Very fine indeed.
More Maurizio Pollini today. This time a complete, recent recording of Brahm’s First Piano Concerto, accompanied by the Staatskapelle Dresden under the baton of Christian Thielemann.
A fine recording by a great pianist – though I favour the Emil Gilels recording and (perhaps predictably) the bootleg Carnegie Hall recording of Gould/Bernstein, this one holds up quite well in comparison.
Some chamber music to close out the week – Brahms Piano Quartet no. 1, Op. 25:
Performed here by a rather all-star cast of Emanuel Ax (piano), Isaac Stern and Jaime Laredo (violin) and Yo-Yo Ma (cello).
A fine example of Brahms playing today from Stephen Hough and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. This is an extended excerpt from the second movement of Brahm’s first piano concerto.
The slow buildup beginning with the restatement of the first theme by the orchestra at 3’36, leading up to those great glacial piano chords at 5’20 is especially well done here.
I have always been most partial to the Glenn Gould (live at Carnegie Hall with the NYPO) and Emil Gilels (studio) recordings of this work, but judging from the second movement alone in this video, Hough’s performance is right up there with those greats.