Rachel Abbinanti (email@example.com) | Chicago | 06/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brahms was in a state of non-confidence when this concerto was conceived. His mentor Robert Schumann urged him to mount the problematics of large scale structural dimensions.So Brahms began wrting a work for two pianos,many of which recognize materials from this D-Minor Concerto after being cast as a first movement to a symphony. The D-Minor Concerto received its premiere in Hanover on January 22,1859 with Brahms himself as soloist. It was not warmly received and to add further animosity to the young composer's depressed state, it fell on bad ears five days later in Leipzig. With Pollini here you have a sculptor in sound and Abbado is a close accomplice. The "first movement" the overwhelming moments of the trills,Pollini elicits a blinding brightness that you sense Abbado must create a veil behind this when the winds mimick the piano. Pollini makes excitement,he ignites the orchestra to Brahms's demands. The "first movement" is a virtual self-contained piece of symphonic proportions itself. 21 minutes of violence mixed with reflections on the state of the day gazing out the window. What you get with this combination Pollini,Abbado and Berlin is a seamless constitution of warm sound,except where Pollini plunges with his bright ignitions. The"Adagio" as well with Abbado who brings an intellectualized approach to anything he touches as well as drama, envisions the sonic timbres,like here with the opening bassoons who are like balanced mists of sound against the high violins. The ending "Rondo" is also memorable, with again this forcefullness at play,with an assertive main idea,that gets tossed into the proceedings. With this playing I don't know if I prefer this to Brahms's "Piano Concerto #2"."
Great Brahms...recording disappointing
Greg Hales | Vacaville, Ca USA | 04/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I would agree with most everything the reviewer from Chicago said. Abbado and the BPO are on great form and Pollin sounds wondeful. I have one major beef and that is the recording. I can not understand why DG balanced the piano so far forward in the sound picture. It does not sounds natural and masks some of the orchestral detail. When you have such playing as the BPO gives you and it gets lost there is something wrong. Also the orchestra is not mere back ground. Brahms wrote such detail to be heard and some of the details in this recording are not heard.My giving it 4 out of 5 stars is based on the recording not the performance of Pollini/BPO/Abbado. I almost would go so far as to say DG should remix it and give us something like we would hear in the concert and that those people did hear at the performances at which this recording was made."
Pollini dominates the field, again
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is hard to udnerstand how Pollini can outshine every competitor of his generation in almost everything he plays, with the exception of Mozart and perhaps the Beethoven concertos. In both Brahms concertos he is towering, masterful, a titan of heroic tehcnique but without sentimentality or fussiness. I almost never play the ponderous First Concerto, except to hear him march through it with such marvelous command. Abbado offers orchestral support in the same large-scale mode."
Pollini vs. Pollini
Abel | Hong Kong | 07/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the second recording of Pollini of this concerto: the first one he made in the 1970's with Karl Boehm and the Vienna Philharmonic. I own quite a number of Brahms No. 1 Concerto recordings, including Emil Gillels and Jochum, Hough and Davies, Lupu and de Waart...And I have heard more than once this work performed live. It is evident that Pollini leads the contemproary field in terms of interpretation of this piece. The heroic and yet lyrical, passionate and yet aloof qualities of this work in the total equilibrium demonstrated in this performance evokes as comparison only the earlier recording of this by Pollini himself - with the VPO. Here, Pollini is even more biting and incisive in the heroic passages, utterly devastating in terms of emotion and expression. The game does appear to be Pollini vs. Pollini, with only Pollini being capable of defeating himself. "
Warm, passionate, breathtaking Brahms
HB | Fort Mill, SC | 05/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just like Beethoven, the orchestrals works of Brahms can tolerate many different interpretations. At first I thought the tempos here were a little on the slow side. But the music is played with so much passion and warmth, the slow tempos did not bother me at all. More importantly, this is a live performance and therefore has real spontanaiety. This version, while almost totally different in approach, rivals my other favorite recording, Serkin and Szell from 1968. An outstanding recording.
Since I bought this at the flea market for only 2 bucks, I had no quibble with the brevity of this CD. However, DG could have easily added a Mozart concerto and still had room to spare. At 17 bucks, this CD is clearly not worth the money. However, there is another version on a double set with lots of other music at about the same price. Or you can use the valuable Marketplace service.
Since I am on the subject of price, I wonder if the classical record companies are going to ever realise the competition from download services. The 17 dollar CD needs to become history."