Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Karl Böhm, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|
Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Pieces
As An Eleven-year-old In 1895, Wilhelm Backhaus Met And Performed For D'albert, Grieg, Nikisch And Brahms, Among Others. Here Was A Pianist Who Shunned Hectoring Gestures Of The Late Romantic Ear For Economy And Purposeful... more »
As An Eleven-year-old In 1895, Wilhelm Backhaus Met And Performed For D'albert, Grieg, Nikisch And Brahms, Among Others. Here Was A Pianist Who Shunned Hectoring Gestures Of The Late Romantic Ear For Economy And Purposefulness. "his Facial Expression Always Remained Steady, Showing An Unceasing Concentration On The Sounds His Hands Were Coaxing From The Instrument With Such Concentrated Energy. Everything Lay In The Act Of Playing, Just As The Preoccupation Of A Great Painter Or Sculptor Would Be Not With Technique As Such, But With Craftsmanship - That Is, Skill Not As An End In Itself, But As A Vehicle For The Idea - Giving Pleasure To Those Who Were Able To Watch And Hear How A True Master Would Execute Even Difficult Passages Effortlessly," Writes Walter Frei. This 2cd Set Brings Together Backhaus's Recordings With Karl B+Ýhm And The Vienna Philharmonic Of The Two Brahms Piano Concertos - The First Recorded In 1953, The Second In 1967 Shortly After The Pianist's 83rd Birthday! They Are Coupled With A Generous Selection Of The Composer's Piano Pieces, Performed With The Same Nobility And Breadth. Artists: Wilhelm Backhaus - Piano, Wiener Philharmoniker, Karl B+Ýhm
A good (but somewhat redundant) release
Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo | Boston, MA USA | 12/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I already had the Decca Legends disc with Backhaus' Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with Bohm and the VPO (see my review), which is the exact same performance included on this disc. It's a great Brahms #2, one of my favorites. This disc has that in addition to the 1st concerto and some Brahms piano works. The 1st concerto, from 1953, was more of a curiosity for me, as the sound is presented in a somewhat veiled, brittle mono. The items of main interest here to me were Backhaus' stereo performances of some of Brahms' late piano works, dating from 1957-8. Here Backhaus plays with his singular insight into Brahms' language. His interpretations are consistent with his overall approach in his later years: noble and patrician, with notable restraint and reserve, and yet a wealth of power lingering just below the surface. These readings are aimed at bringing Brahms' scores to life, very direct and straightforward, but played with a supreme understanding of dynamics and a surpisingly gentle approach during the softer moments, which are many in these works, some of Brahms' most introspective and a far cry from his extroverted and heroic orchestral works.
As for the sound: it surprised me to find out these performances were not remastered, at least there is no indication of it. Still, the sound is pretty good in spite of that, in particular the solo pieces. The second concerto sounds a bit thinner than the Decca Legends release I own. The booklet is pretty good, offering solid if beginner's level notes on the compositions and some information on Backhaus.
This is a must for fans of Backhaus, as I don't know of any other in-print discs featuring Backhaus performing the piano works in relatively good sound."