I've never understood why this particular performance of Brahms' great 2nd Piano Concerto has not been more widely recognized for what it is--a truly great performance. I own a number of recordings of this work, which to my ears is perhaps the greatest piano concerto ever written. I grew up listening to the Gilels/Jochum performance, also own the Richter/Leinsdorf, and have Solomon's wonderful performance with Dobrowen/Philharmonia. But this is my favorite of all. And it's shocking, because Pollini gives a most un-Pollini-like performance. Where Pollini's playing in general tends towards what I would call "elegant introspection", this performance is almost the complete opposite of what I would expect to hear from him. The first movement is warm yet intense, the second movement flows with over the top passion, the third movement is beautiful, serene, and moving, and the fourth movement has elegance, panache, and exuberance in equal measure. A lot of credit has to be given also to Claudio Abbado and the great Vienna Philharmonic. They are all at their very best. The sound of this recording is excellent--warm and full.
I have not heard Pollini & Abbado's more recent recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, so I don't have that to compare this to. But I have to say, this is my "go to" recording of this work. It's perfect, and beyond criticism. Grab it if you can!