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Discussion: Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 - Rubinstein/Reiner

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Post by peteyspambucket January 31, 2005 (1 of 22)
I bought this SACD, and I have a major gripe that it only contains this piece, and therefore only contains about 35 min of music. Given that most of the other releases in the series have beefed up the content from other albums, why was that the case with this one?

On top of that, while I am not a long-time admirer of this recording, this isn't even such a great rendition of the piece anyway. The orchestra sounds very UN-Brahmsian, and the solo piano has very little life. I plan to listen to it a few more times, but I think this one is a dud.

Post by Daland January 31, 2005 (2 of 22)
peteyspambucket said:

I bought this SACD, and I have a major gripe that it only contains this piece, and therefore only contains about 35 min of music. Given that most of the other releases in the series have beefed up the content from other albums, why was that the case with this one?

On top of that, while I am not a long-time admirer of this recording, this isn't even such a great rendition of the piece anyway. The orchestra sounds very UN-Brahmsian, and the solo piano has very little life. I plan to listen to it a few more times, but I think this one is a dud.

All the recordings I know last about 50 minutes. How can it be that Rubinstein needs only 35 minutes? The playing time of his account with the BSO under Leinsdorf is about 48 minutes.
Unfortunately, I can't comment on the quality because the second batch of the series is not yet available in Germany.

Post by seth January 31, 2005 (3 of 22)
Daland said:

All the recordings I know last about 50 minutes. How can it be that Rubinstein needs only 35 minutes?

The playtime is 46 minutes. I think what he meant was that the disc could have held another 35 minutes worth of music.

46 minutes is pretty skimpy. Redbook releases of the recording at least contained solo keyboard music by Brahms with Rubinstein.

Post by peteyspambucket January 31, 2005 (4 of 22)
oops, i made a typo. I meant to type "46" and I typed "35" instead. (Same distance btwn keys.)

I'm listening to it now, and I still don't like the interpretation that much, however, I am still impressed with the sound quality. As benchmarks, I like the renditions from Krystian Zimmermann, Maurizio Pollini, and Glenn Gould.

Post by sgb February 8, 2005 (5 of 22)
peteyspambucket said:


I'm listening to it now, and I still don't like the interpretation that much, however, I am still impressed with the sound quality. As benchmarks, I like the renditions from Krystian Zimmermann, Maurizio Pollini, and Glenn Gould.

What about the Gilels/Jochem?

Post by seth February 9, 2005 (6 of 22)
sgb said:

What about the Gilels/Jochem?

or Fleisher/Szell and Serkin/Szell

Post by brenda February 9, 2005 (7 of 22)
seth said:

or Fleisher/Szell and Serkin/Szell

or Kovacevich/Sawallisch

Post by sgb February 9, 2005 (8 of 22)
brenda said:

or Kovacevich/Sawallisch

That's one I've missed, brenda. SBK ranks among my favorite pianists (along with Gilels, Curzon, Rubinstein, Cliburn, De Larrocha, Peraiha, Lupu, Kempf, and sometimes even Ashcan - all of whom have excelled with the works of specific composers or genres within the classical repertoire).

The comments on the Rubinstein/Reiner Brahms 1st in this thread prompted me to go ahead and buy it, so, last night, for the first time in my life I listened to it from start to finish.

I find Rubinstein's approach uniquely refreshing. Not one to over-sweeten or make maudlin gestures, AR here demonstrates (to me, at least) why he is one of the true gods of 20th century classical virtuosi. His phrasing is ideal, his approach neither reticent nor demonstrative.

This is one I will be playing many times over despite Reiner's somewhat mechanical conducting.

Post by akiralx February 9, 2005 (9 of 22)
sgb said:

That's one I've missed, brenda. SBK ranks among my favorite pianists (along with Gilels, Curzon, Rubinstein, Cliburn, De Larrocha, Peraiha, Lupu, Kempf, and sometimes even Ashcan - all of whom have excelled with the works of specific composers or genres within the classical repertoire).

Kovacevich's Brahms 1 is superb - probably the best in digital sound. I rate it above Fleisher, Hough, Gilels and Curzon, good though they all are.

I have a fondness for Arrau/Haitink on Philips, although Arrau/Kubelik live on Orfeo is even finer.

Post by brenda February 9, 2005 (10 of 22)
sgb said:That's one I've missed, brenda. SBK ranks among my favorite pianists (
dear sgb and akiralx, i find it hard to choose between Gilels and Kovacevich in the first, - maybe K has the slight edge due to the more "modern" recorded sound EMI gave him and the coupling, the rare 2 songs for alto, viola and piano op. 91. Sawallish isn't always my favourite conductor, but here he matches K's drive and passion. It goes without saying that Gilels is still superb in the 1st.

The Second is a more clear cut choice , with Gilels absolutely magical, -a leonine, magisterial and autumnal performance with Jochum conducting an even-more-superb-than-usual Berlin Phil (with a great cello solo from Ottomar Borwitzky). The K 2nd (also on EMI) is very good, but just a shade under both his 1st and G's 2nd.

The K was digitally recorded in '91, presumably in 16 bit, so there's no poinjt waiting for an SACD release, but I am praying that DG give the SACD treatment to the Gilels set, both concertos, and I'll be holding off any Brahms PC purchases on SACD until that happens.

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