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Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2 CD

2.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 May 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00004R9F2
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,579 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 1. Allegro non troppo
  2. 2. Allegro appassionato
  3. 3. Andante - Più adagio
  4. 4. Allegretto grazioso - Un poco più presto

Product Description

Product Description

POLLINI / ABBADO / BERLIN P. O

Amazon.co.uk

The piano concerto was no bravura lollipop to Brahms, who elevated concertos almost to the status of symphonies. But his two piano concertos are certainly not lacking in drama or virtuosity and they are given with edge-of-the-seat vitality here by two of music's giants--or three if you count the orchestra, the mighty Berlin Philharmonic, playing superbly. Perhaps the immediacy of the readings is heightened by the fact that both recordings are taken from live performances: the first concerto in the Vienna Musikverein in 1997 and the second in the Berlin Philharmonie in 1995. And if live performances conjures up thoughts of audiences making unsolicited contributions, don't worry. Either the Austrian and German audiences were particularly well behaved or the DG engineers have done miracles, because there is not so much as a single hand-clap, let alone any coughing and spluttering.

As two Italians, Abbado and Pollini can be expected to turn in spirited performances, which they certainly do. But these are also thoughtful readings that will long outlive the appeal of more showy interpretations. --Keith Clarke

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
From the audio standpoint both these DGG recordings are not top notch and concerto Nr.1 (recorded in Sofiensaal Vienna) is a disaster.
For all intent and purpose it could have been recorded in a basement or in a stifled studio: there is no width, no depth, no breath to the sound and all players occupies the same space and dimension (note that this phenomena is brought about by extensive - multi-miked microphoning technique where the recording engineer does not know if he is coming or going.
The sound is thick, dark, comparable to a wide mono.
In that situation it is impossible to penetrate the sound and certainly it is impossible to draw conclusions about the playing quality... Hopeless.
The second piano concerto recorded in Berlin fares better and has a more reliable sound-stage, depth and sweetness of sound - yet it too is not in a caliber of say, the Decca/Ashkenazy/Haitink.
Buyers should be aware of these shortcoming and not spend more than few cents on these DGG 2-CD set.
7 Comments 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: MP3 Download
...which is not to denigrate it. What comes across is an analogy between getting the thing in the can and Brahms' struggle with the material. It's open and equal as a reading between the parties, and feels like a performance. Abbado injects some bite into the soupy Berlin strings here and there. It comes across quite well under mp3 compression. Pollini's best, ardent, pellucid reading of these scores was with Vienna Phil and Bohm-still on cd.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa07666fc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa06bf9e4) out of 5 stars Wonderful recordings 15 Jun. 2009
By Russell I. Burnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While many agree that Pollini's Chopin, Beethoven and Schumann are incredible, his recordings of the Brahms piano concertos seem to draw more mixed reviews. I don't understand why; I believe they rank with the best.

This is my favorite recording of the Op. 15 Concerto, right up there with Fleisher/Szell. They each outdo each other in particular aspects (Fleisher really nails the second movement), but those where Pollini excels are more important to me. This is particularly true in the first movement, where Pollini avoids the temptation to rush through the most dramatic parts. The superior sound quality of Pollini/Abbado is also a plus.

As for the Op. 83 Concerto, this recording and the Gilels/Jochum are my favorites. Gilels actually beats Pollini at his own game in the first movement; he doesn't allow the excitement to drive the tempo to rapid excess. So Gilels gets the nod for the first movement, and for the third as well. But Pollini wins out with the other two, where his approach melds perfectly with the underlying force Brahms infused into them. Thus, I go back and forth between the two recordings.

Overall, this is a wonderful album. While I encourage anyone to explore multiple interpretations of these two great concertos, I'd be perfectly content if the Pollini/Abbado recordings were the only ones I owned.
HASH(0xa068fb34) out of 5 stars Outstanding 21 Feb. 2013
By Sieglinde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pollini's artistry is unbelievable...and so evident on this recording. His interpretation is simply perfect. If I had anything negative to say I would have to say the soundtrack of the orchestra sounds a bit dull (fidelity) but the piano is bright and balanced.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa068fa14) out of 5 stars Slightly inconsistent Brahms sound & keyboarding 17 Aug. 2014
By RLB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Recording wise - the acoustic is generally smooth, the piano isn't precisely recorded against the orchestral support. Pollini takes (as is his style) his own approach to Brahms's phrasing - which is choppy here and there - but overall technically sophisticated. The phrasing may not be to everyone's liking; with this liberal but justifiable keyboard technique. At times even the most microscopic orchestral detail emerges and from the piano too, but Abbado is no gifted Brahmsian interpreter. Shrillness abounds. The proof of that is the fact far superior orchestral performances exist on disc. The keyboard technique though, in and of itself, is first class. The last part of the Concerto #1 is somewhat anti-climactic; even rushed. Some of the succulent Brahmsian orchestral sonorities are hardly audible in the 2nd movement. Similarly, the first main piano theme(s) - Pollini gives it a "mild" treatment for most of the first movement of the D minor. A minor key tonality, surely, should be a little more brooding more pensive. Yet Abbado often allows thunderous orchestral support. A first then the product of Pollini and his majesterial technique and Abbado with some Brahmsian symphonic oddities of tempo, pace, output and sonority.
What struck me about the 2nd Piano concerto is an overall lack of grandeur and supremacy. Just to rapid a tempo; lacking autumnal qualities. Pollini chimes in after the somber and elegiac horn theme, then starts his "Pollini playing Brahms" keyboarding, which seems more like Beethoven Piano Conc 1 or 2 - with Abbado allowing for some orchestral overload. Then with an unspecified orchestral shift (Abbado drags in some "Haffner" here???) dynamic changes are too dramatic, too wide to maintain Brahms' orchestral line. Pollini undercutting some of Brahms piano line, but emphasizing different thematic elements, will not be to everyone's liking. Notice if you can, the rather dramatic drop in "energy" orchestrally and piano wise (2nd concerto, 1st track at about 9:47). The Allegro appasionata receives the same "interpretation" (2nd conc track 2) of liberal Brahms. The cello solo is quite lovely, the piano skipping tune agreeable The finale is energetic but won't be welcomed by all as a Brahms interpretation. What cheap measure, 2 discs, 1 concerto each - there is over 50 minutes of empty disc on this set. BPO and DG could have done an Academic Festival Overture and/or Tragic overture. Note that DG uses a rather youthful photo of Pollinii and Abbado.
10 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa06939f0) out of 5 stars Miserable recording - specially so for concerto nr.1 9 Nov. 2010
By Judy Spotheim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While both the two "reviewers" quibble like two deaf birds about who do this and who does that better, their "reviews" lack the information many buyers would like to have before committing to buy this set. The lacking information is this:
From the audio standpoint both these DGG recordings are not top notch and concerto Nr.1 (recorded in Sofiensaal Vienna) is a disaster.
For all intent and purpose it could have been recorded in a basement or in a stifled studio: there is no width, no depth, no breath to the sound and all players occupies the same space and dimension (note that this phenomena is brought about by extensive - multi-miked microphoning technique where the recording engineer does not know if he is coming or going.
The sound is thick, dark, comparable to a wide mono.
In that situation it is impossible to penetrate the sound and certainly it is impossible to draw conclusions about the playing quality... Hopeless.
The second piano concerto recorded in Berlin fares better and has a more reliable sound-stage, depth and sweetness of sound - yet it too is not in a caliber of say, the Decca/Ashkenazy/Haitink.
Buyers should be aware of these shortcoming and not spend more than few cents on these DGG 2-CD set.
6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0693eb8) out of 5 stars The intellectual pianism! 9 July 2007
By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
For some reason the cold expressiveness of Maurizio Pollini has been object of veneration for man people, but not in my case. If the coldness is a virtue, you may find out inside the pianism of Emil Gilels, for instance but I must confess he had that accurate touch, sense of span and an entire disposition of anima around every single piece he performed.

In the particular case of Pollini I have intended to approach myself through several composers; Chopin, Brahms and Beethoven and the result has been the same; his performances are flat, hyper dry temperament, and lack of lyric life.
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