**3 1/2 stars**
This is a pretty uneven disc. Anda does quite well in the Grieg, but less so in the Brahms. By the time of this recording, Anda was past his prime, and the incredibly difficult Brahms concerto seems to tax the soloist at times. Another problem in the Brahms in my opinion is Karajan. Karajan was a very good Brahms conductor, but I don't really see that on this disc. Never the most sympathetic of accompanists, Karajan does not appear to be completely in sync with his soloist. At one point during the first orchestral statement of the theme in the first movement, Karajan seems to bring in horns too early! The mediocre results are as much his fault as Anda's - there are other moments throughout the account where neither Karajan nor Anda appear to be able to decide on phrasing.
The Grieg, a less difficult concerto, benefits from a more cooperative rapport between Anda and his accompanist, Rafael Kubelik. In that work, Anda doesn't sound taxed at all, and does a fine job all the way through the most devilish of passages. Kubelik provides a strong and far more compliant accompaniment, and the end result is much more satisfying, in fact a very good Grieg concerto. Still, I've heard better...Curzon/Fjelstadt/London Phil., Lupu/Previn/LSO, and Entremont/Ormandy/PO all come immediately to mind. As for the quality of accompaniment, the BPO does well in both works, with their characteristic tight ensemble work, burnished string tones and strong brass and wind ensemble.
Sound quality is good, well-detailed with good dynamic range, if occasionally bright. It's been remastered and both works sound better than they have in previous CD incarnations. Liner notes are (as usual) a little weak, as seems to be the case throughout the Originals series.
Not a great disc overall, as there is better Brahms elsewhere, although the Grieg is quite strong. For a better idea of what Anda can do in Brahms, see his 1960 recording with Ferenc Fricsay and the BPO. That disc - recorded 7 years prior this one - shows Anda in far greater command, and benefitting from backing from a much more sympathetic conductor. The result is one of my very favorite Brahms #2s, alongside the performances of Fleisher/Szell, Backhaus/Bohm, and Gilels/Jochum. I don't understand why they wouldn't just take this earlier performance and remaster that for the Originals series.
4 1/2 stars for the Grieg then, 2 1/2 for the Brahms.