Just like the recording of the first piano concerto Brahms - Piano concerto No 1; (4) Ballades Op10
, this super-budget Warner Apex re-release is fantastically good! Originally released as a single Teldec CD in 2001 Piano Concertos No. 2 (Buchbinder, Harnoncourt)
with the Op.79 Rhapsodies, it was subsequently repackaged into a 2-CD set without them; this Apex re-release is certainly the best way to obtain these recordings, it even has brief but good booklet notes.
Buchbinder is an excellent pianist and he is wonderfully set by Harnoncourt and the peerless Royal Concertgebow Orchestra, never overplaying sentimenality and emphasising the dynamic between the soloist in superb sound quality. As per usual with this conductor, we have an exciting performance - this recording is not for the conservative. I think it's a great recording withou a shadow of a doubt, ranking alongside Richter Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 1
and Freire Brahms: The Piano Concertos
, to name but two sterling accounts.
Buchbinder gives us lovely accounts of the two Rhapsodies to round up the disc, complimentary to the main performance. Don't overlook the excellent Lubimov release of these pieces, however, Brahms - Piano Works