Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Franz [Vienna] Schubert, Alexander Gibson|
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2; Schubert: Three Piano Pieces, D946
Listen to Samples
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although Claudio Arrau was already 60 years old at the time of this Brahms concert, his greatest musical years were still ahead of him. A series of classic recordings for Phillips was about to commence, beginning with the Beehoven sonatas & concertos in the mid-1960's and then continuing with surveys of Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Chopin and Debussy. Arrau's approach in late middle age had become more reflective and detailed, and his light touch replaced by a rich organ-like plangency. This, combined with Arrau no doubt conscious that he was making permanent testaments of works he had been playing and thinking over for decades, resulted in these recordings having a slightly formal feeling to them. While his recitals were more spontaneous (even free-wheeling depending upon his mood and the music), the poetic/philosophical aspect of his personality would essentially dominate the rest of his career. Although this BBC recording of the Brahms second concerto was made when Arrau was in the midst of his transformation from virtuoso to mature poet-philosopher, it is the virtuoso who is still very much in command. It is a stunning musical statement, combining some of the pianist's famous agogic touches with an extroverted plunge into the notoriously difficult score. Unbelievably complex passagework sounds unbelievably complex (as it should), with all the notes fearlessly on display. Brahms didn't write this music to sound easy, but the completely self-assured Arrau has it all under effortless-sounding control. The first and second movements are alternately massive and soaring, with Arrau employing all kinds of expressive devices that were to become recognized as hallmarks of his artistic genius. There are huge thundering chords, but also whispering. The third movement is absolutely lovely, with a granite-like solo by Arrau who enters simply but firmly and then builds up a tremendous cascading climax that descends with the type of rolling chord that might seem old-fashioned or contrived in the hands of anyone else but sounds completely natural here. Indeed these types of flourishes are reminders that Arrau, despite being very modern in his thinking and outlook, was still a product of Martin Krause (his 19th century mentor who was a pupil of Liszt), and like his idols played in the "grand manner" of bygone years. (There is evidence of this everywhere in Arrau's playing, but especially so in his recordings of Brahms' sonata op. 5, Liszt's Transcendental Etudes and the Liszt-Verdi paraphrases.) The final movement is color, blazing sunlight, glitter and gigantic chords projected between the dance-like theme. Just wonderful.The solo Schubert pieces, recorded a few years earlier, are worthy accompaniments to this truly great Brahms second. The mono sound is completely acceptable & the BBC should be congratulated for releasing this disc."
Superlative live Brahms 2nd
Oldnslow | Seattle, Washington USA | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I fully concurr with the previous reviewer as to the merits of this special live recording made by Arrau at his best. Based on this performance I am going to investigate Arrau's Brahms 1st with Kubelik (Orfeo), which is supposed to be an extraordinary performance as well."