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Brahms: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2


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Biography

Perhaps more of an advocate for contemporary music than any other major pianist essentially rooted in traditional repertory, Maurizio Pollini was born in Milan, Italy. He learned quickly and was given piano lessons from Carlo Lonati from an early age, making his public debut at the age of nine. Enrolling in the Milan Conservatory, he studied with Carlo Vidusso. In 1957 he performed a recital ... Read more in Amazon's Maurizio Pollini Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Mar. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00HZ8J5HO
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,904 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Brahms: Piano Concerto No.2 In B Flat, Op.83 - 1. Allegro non troppoChristian Thielemann17:12£2.29  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Brahms: Piano Concerto No.2 In B Flat, Op.83 - 2. Allegro appassionatoChristian Thielemann 9:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Brahms: Piano Concerto No.2 In B Flat, Op.83 - 3. Andante - Più adagioMaurizio Pollini11:22£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Brahms: Piano Concerto No.2 In B Flat, Op.83 - 4. Allegretto grazioso - Un poco più prestoChristian Thielemann 9:11£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Recorded live at the Semperoper, Dresden, in January 2013, this performance of Brahms s Piano Concerto No.2 reunited the dream-team of Maurizio Pollini and the Staatskapelle orchestra under Christian Thielemann

Pollini and Thielemann had already won a prestigious ECHO award for their DG recording of the first concerto, released in 2012

Brahms s second piano concerto has had a particularly notable history in the city of Dresden, where the composer himself played the work twice on the stage of the Semperoper - where this recording was made

Premiered nearly twenty years after its predecessor and quite different in character, the concerto is still one of the greatest challenges of the piano repertory not just because of its daunting technical demands but also because of the sheer scale of its four movements

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Followers of Pollini's career will be aware that he has recorded the epic Brahms Cto. 2 twice before, in Vienna and Berlin, both times with Claudio Abbado. What would justify a third go-round? The first attraction is the recorded sound, done in concert last winter in Dresden. The warmth of the Dresden Staatskapelle has been captured beautifully, the balance with the piano is exemplary, and the piano itself sounds natural, without a hint of digital "ping" in the treble. The orchestral playing is fully the equal of what is heard on Pollini's two earlier performances.

I also like Christian Thielemann better than Abbado - his tempo choices keep the line moving, and he's very flexible at following his soloist. They pair in a natural way that's unusually devoid of rhetoric and grandiosity, two things the Brahms B-flat Cto. is prone to. There's also an intangible quality - Thielemann seems interested an involved. I enjoyed his conducting far more than Andris Nelson's in DG's most recent Brahms Second, with the galvanizing Helen Grimaud both leading and dominating the performance.

And Pollini himself? His mastery of the concerto's difficulties is undeniable, and now his phrasing has become exceptional. Not a bar sounds routine, and many passages are unmatchable by younger virtuosos. The same was true in the first installment of this series, an outstanding Brahms First Cto. with Thielemann. It's a pleasure to hear a reading where nothing is canned. The only reservation someone might have concerns the pianist's physical powers - he doesn't attack the big forte and fortissimo passages with heroic strength. He turned seventy-one the month this recording was made, and we can't expect him to have the force of his younger self.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Pollini and Thielemann are refreshing and rhapsodic in the Brahms 2nd Concerto 11 April 2014
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brahms' 2nd Piano Concerto has been getting major billing from DG, as this new release comes just a few months after Helene Grimaud's recording with Andris Nelsons and the Vienna Phil. Sticklers will rightly complain that this issue offers no fillers, but at least we have a true major release, not something to be taken for granted these days.

In any event, if DG thought the greatness on this recording was reason enough for listeners to go out of their way, their bet should pay off. From the very first bars, the undisputed mastery of a great pianist grabs the ears. Pollini may not have all the brio of his younger self, but his phrasing sounds ageless, with agile expression that is nearly peerless. It's easy to attack this concerto, stressing its nobility, but Pollini is playing where others are trying to make an imprint. Of course Pollini finds many new things to say, but it sounds spontaneous; so many pianists sounds labored in Brahms. As much as I appreciated Grimaud's recent recording, she can sound serious where Pollini is ecstatically entering a whole new sound world.

Certainly Christian Thielemann adds to the success. His Staatskapelle Dresden may not sound as sheerly beautiful as the Vienna Phil for Nelsons, but his conducting is much more involved, less of an accompaniment and more in the center. But like Pollini, he doesn't push too hard. This is Brahms that is energized, that never sounds ponderous, but its freewheeling adventurous spirit is hard to overemphasize. I've rarely heard Brahms that is this momentous and yet so carefree. This is not the stern bachelor composer stereo-typified in many minds. Climaxes swell and the impact is definite, but the hint of pure joy is a welcome change, and truly an accomplishment in this music. Simple forward motion without a strain of pretentiousness pays off.

I concur with the previous reviewer that this may be the best of Pollini's three readings of this concerto, including the stellar one with Abbado and the Berlin Phil. Needless to say, it also stands out in the discography as a whole.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Pollini’s new Brahms: wisdom and keen musicianship 21 Jun. 2014
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I’ve just come back from Vienna where on Monday I was supposed to listen to Maurizio Pollini’s eagerly awaited annual recital at Musikverein. Few hours before the time the recital was scheduled to begin, Pollini decided - due to health reasons – to cancel his performance.

In order to overcome the disappointment caused by my broken expectations, I bought on spot his most recent release – the recording of the Second Concerto by Brahms accompanied by Dresdner Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann.

As always, the great Italian pianist delivers mighty renditionswhen it comes to such demanding oeuvres in the piano literature. Pollini is an unmatched master of the keyboard and a refined musical conscience. The age just added and polished his fabulous qualities, even though his bravura and awesome virtuosity get a little staid. The flame seems to have been sublimated into a ripe wisdom. The gifts of architect in music which have made the fame of Pollini for so many decades are now added in his performances with this kind of mellowness.

I would characterize this version of Brahms No.2 by intense musicianship rather than flamboyant pyrotechnics and physical stamina. This time Pollini seems to have found a very empathetic orchestra and a flexible conductor whose collaboration actually offers a warm and supportive framework to the soloist’s romantic outbursts and reflective lyricism.

t is the approach of a wise and experienced musician to a overwhelming masterpiece of his instrument.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Pollini's third recording of the mighty Brahms Second Cto. may be his best - a magnificent success., 8 April 2014
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Followers of Pollini's career will be aware that he has recorded the epic Brahms Cto. 2 twice before, in Vienna and Berlin, both times with Claudio Abbado. What would justify a third go-round? The first attraction is the recorded sound, done in concert last winter in Dresden. The warmth of the Dresden Staatskapelle has been captured beautifully, the balance with the piano is exemplary, and the piano itself sounds natural, without a hint of digital "ping" in the treble. The orchestral playing is fully the equal of what is heard on Pollini's two earlier performances.

I also like Christian Thielemann better than Abbado - his tempo choices keep the line moving, and he's very flexible at following his soloist. They pair in a natural way that's unusually devoid of rhetoric and grandiosity, two things the Brahms B-flat Cto. is prone to. There's also an intangible quality - Thielemann seems interested an involved. I enjoyed his conducting far more than Andris Nelson's in DG's most recent Brahms Second, with the galvanizing Helen Grimaud both leading and dominating the performance.

And Pollini himself? His mastery of the concerto's difficulties is undeniable, and now his phrasing has become exceptional. Not a bar sounds routine, and many passages are unmatchable by younger virtuosos. The same was true in the first installment of this series, an outstanding Brahms First Cto. with Thielemann. It's a pleasure to hear a reading where nothing is canned. The only reservation someone might have concerns the pianist's physical powers - he doesn't attack the big forte and fortissimo passages with heroic strength. He turned seventy-one the month this recording was made, and we can't expect him to have the force of his younger self. Sample the opening to the Scherzo, a test of stamina after the huge first movement. Pollini plays everything superbly, but if you expect Serkin's fierce attack, it's not quite there. (Pollini's timing for this movement was nearly the same in his first two recordings, at 8:45, and now is only a fraction slower, 15 seconds. Serkin, in his mono recording under Ormandy, took only 7:43.)

The natural expansiveness of the recorded sound is displayed beautifully in the cello solo that opens the slow movements - it would be hard to imagine better. Thielemann sets a nice walking pace, avoiding the slowness that may be set down to affection but winds up making the movement last forever. The pace is almost two minutes fast than the classic Fleisher-Szell on Sony, a surprise. Pollini plays with clarity and grace, a hallmark of the entire performance. A critical ear might find that the absolute precision of his earlier self is blurred, however. The finale, which is often in danger of sounding too light, is nicely balanced and suitably imaginative - there was no feeling of letdown from either pianist or conductor.

I am practically an uncritical admirer of this pianist, but in some recent concerts, the ones where Pollini didn't cancel due to illness, I've felt that age has brought some diminished playing. But this Brahms Second is exceptional by anyone's standards, and when you consider the really fine conducting and playing, the result is a magnificent success.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing 7 May 2014
By Roger Townsend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was disappointed. This is one of my favorite pieces of classical music, and Brahms is my favorite composer. I own 18 different versions, two others by Pollini. Although not a trained pianist, I own a copy of the the score. Pollini and Argerich, though wildly different, are my two favorite living pianists. I tell you all this simply to explain my disappointment with this recording. The sound quality is excellent; the notes are precise. But it is slow. The dramatic tension is gone. I fear that Pollini, at his age, has had to adopt the Rubenstein technique of slowing down so that faster passages sound faster than they really are. I would seriously recommend one of Pollini's earlier versions over this one, or even his DVD recording of this piece. I regret having to say this, but it is my honest opinion. Sorry, dear, dear Maurizio.
In praise of Brahms 9 April 2015
By Bahij Bawarshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The partnership of Maurizio Pollini, Christian Thielemann and Staatskapelle Dresden has produced a work perhaps best described as a tribute to the mature music of Brahms.

From start to finish of this live recording, the rich, deep tones of both orchestra and piano proclaim one of Brahms' best orchestral compositions. Indeed, his Piano Concerto No. 2 stands apart as a grand and unique piece of its genre. Long recognized for being a concerto with some attributes of a symphony, it is akin to a sinfornia concertante, so well integrated is the piano with the orchestra. All the happier, then, is Pollini's ability to generate a huge pianistic volume to keep up with the orchestral climaxes, most evidently demonstrated in the substantial first movement. In fact, Pollini makes things happen throughout. What Brahms whimsically referred to as a tiny scherzo, the second movement is really a stormy affair before the ensuing calm. From the movement's opening piano notes, Pollini attacks it with energy, which he keeps up, whether playing solo or when being the full partner of a splendid orchestra. Yet in the following Andante, Pollini complements an idyllic cello in a delightful passage of beautifully warm Romantic music -- who said Pollini is "cold"? -- that seems to anticipate Brahms' "autumnal" late chamber works. And in the graceful passages of the finale, Pollini makes the piano sing. 'Grazioso' it is; though in typical Brahms style, other passages come in with brio.

A fine orchestra of which Thielemann must be justly proud, a polished piano performance, excellent audio quality, this record is a worthy addition to anyone's collection.
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