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  • Brahms: The Piano Concertos 1, 2: Haydn and Handel Variations
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Brahms: The Piano Concertos 1, 2: Haydn and Handel Variations CD


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With an international conducting career that has spanned more than five decades, Amsterdam-born Bernard Haitink is one of today's most celebrated conductors. Recentlyappointed Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he has in addition led many of the world's top orchestras, including 25 years at the helm of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam as its music ... Read more in Amazon's Bernard Haitink Store

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Brahms: The Piano Concertos 1, 2: Haydn and Handel Variations + Brahms: The Complete Symphonies 1, 2, 3, 4
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bernard Haitink
  • Audio CD (8 July 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000068QRT
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,881 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Concerto No.1
2. Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concert No.2
2. Variations on a Theme by Haydn

Product Description

Piano Concertos

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ian on 30 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am no musicologist and therefore this review must be read in that light. I am biased because these Brahms concertos are amongst my favourites. The scope and breadth of these works is exhilerating. Ashkenazy has a delightfully light touch and a fine sense of mood and tone. Altogether masterful performances of these works. A constant joy and a CD to be played over and over.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Brahms fan on 15 Oct. 2007
Format: Audio CD
How do you like Brahms to sound?
For me, it must be played with full, rich, warm tones - after all, it is weighty, expressive and truly romantic music - and the many passages of extreme delicacy and utter beauty must be brought out too.

So what about this recording? I would say that this recording amply fulfils all those requirements. Dealing first with my absolute favourite of all piano concertos, Brahms' second, this recording (for me personally) outstrips all others that I have heard (YES, even the widely acclaimed Gilels/Jochum/BPO on DG: Brahms: The Piano Concertos; Fantasias Op.116).

There is such beautiful sound - the opening solo horn, the solo cello in the 3rd movement, not to mention Ashkenazy's tone on the piano. Ashkenazy exacts so much power from his keyboard without whacking the thing to death or giving us a horrible, harsh tone - for me, Gilels does not do so well in this respect, when comparing the two readings. Ashkenazy has a beautifully warm and weighty sound; every note resonates as it should. The piano holds its place with fine, firm tone against the orchestra in the louder, more energetic passages, yet also sounds with such sensitivity and delicacy in the 3rd movement, and the "quiet after the storm" in the second movement. (Sample the from 5'40'' to 6'10'' in the second movement to see what I mean - what a beautiful melodic line in the right hand set against the arpeggios in the left!).

I also love the execution of the opening of the piece - that lovely resonant sound of the bass notes, almost at the very extreme of the keyboard, which answer the horn.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By rob greaves on 20 Feb. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have never written a review about anything before, so here goes!
These discs are an absolute bargain! Here are two great piano concertos, with generous fillers, performed by one of my favourite pianists and the marvellous Concertegebow Orchestra under Haitink. Of course there is no one interpretation which is 'correct' and will suit everybody, but I think that Ashkenazy has the measure of both these concertos, combining strength and poetry allowing the romantic grandeur and sweep to emerge. I did have a musicassette of the D minor when it was first released in the early eighties so I was more than happy to replace it with the CD.
I also have the classic Gilels/Jochum versions which speak for themselves, but I prefer (only just) the Decca mainly because the recording is much warmer and richer sounding. Just listen to the glorious opening horn solo in the Bflat concerto. Both Haitink and Ashkenazy are 'in tune' with one another making for deeply satisfying interpretations of both these technically demanding concertos.
There is surprisingly little to choose interpretation-wise. Gilels is a little more expansive, especially in the first movement of the D minor where the presentation of the piano's main theme is more studied (none the worse for that). One disappointment of the DG recording occurs when the piano makes its appearance in the d minor after the orchestral ritornello, where the piano sounds too distant -almost reluctant to make an entry.
I have listened too many versions of the D minor (my favourite by a whisker). Curzon, Brendel and John Lill to name a few, all of which were excellent performances. I did hear a truly awful performance given by Radu Lupu, of all people, at a proms performance some years ago - sadly he seemed to be way past his prime.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Adley on 5 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
With many versions available, Ashkenazy more than holds his own. The First Piano Concerto is, to be honest, neither better nor worse than other versions but the second is sublime. The Adagio, drawing you in with the serene 'Cello and then Ashkenazy is Rhapsodic, Lyrical and Profound, in equal measure.
If you haven't heard these works before, this is a great introduction to the genius of Brahms' Piano Concertos, and if you have, you won't be disappointed.
James Adley
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