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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as thrilling as volume one, 15 Mar 2013
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brahms: Works For Solo Piano Vol.2 (Barry Douglas) (Chandos: CHAN 10757) (Audio CD)
Barry Douglas' second disc of Brahms' solo oeuvre proves to be every bit as rewarding as the first, and with very much the same virtues: a deeply felt response to all the pieces, whether strongly projected (the E flat Rhapsody opus 119) or more muted, as in some of the intermezzos. He unfailingly lets the music breathe so that great arching phrases become apparent, infinitely subtle in the way they are modulated. You just can't get enough of his big yet finely gradated tone, superbly caught in an acoustic with some air around it - you imagine he must be in a room with a high ceiling, but with no lack of focus. It is really hard to imagine how the sound could be better suited to Brahms in his autumnal, expansive world or his youthful ardour, also not without its expansiveness! The latter also uses the full range of the instrument, with some amazingly pinging top notes on treble octaves and plummy bass sounds. It reminds me, in aural profile, of some of Lydia Mordkovitch's recordings, also on Chandos - her Brahms sonatas with Gerhard Oppitz, in fact, has a similar sense of time opening up. Do not pay attention to the programme order given under the product description - the works are not grouped according to name, but jump around the opus numbers continually. Where it follows on from the first installment is in the placing of a large work at the end, the magnificent 3rd Sonata convincing you that Brahms had felt everything and was really a fully formed creative genius at the time of composing what would be opus 5 - and Douglas is truly Herculean in physical power, but with the tender heart of Ganymede beating in his breast.
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