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Brahms: The Piano Concertos / Freire, Chailly, Gewandhaus

Release Date: 05/09/2006 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 000658802   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Nelson Freire
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 35 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

***Gramophone's Record of the Year for 2007!***

Soloist, conductor and orchestra on top form: a triumph for the ages.

This is the Brahms piano concerto set we’ve been waiting for. Nelson Freire and Riccardo Chailly offer interpretations that triumphantly fuse immediacy and insight, power and lyricism, and incandescent virtuosity that leaves few details unturned, yet always with the big picture in clear sight. The D minor No 1’s headlong opening tutti updates Szell/Cleveland’s patented fire and brimstone with a warmth of tone that manages to convey both line and mass as few others do – the slower, bleaker Sanderling (Erato, 7/98), or Harnoncourt (Teldec, 8/00) traversals, for example. Timpani and
Read more brass proudly step up to the fore in both concertos, while frequently buried lines emerge from the gnarly textures with uncommon clarity and specificity. In Chailly’s hands, a genuine chamber music aesthetic consistently governs the lustrous warmth of Brahms’s underrated orchestrations, to say nothing of the heights to which the conductor has led his revitalised Leipzig Gewandhaus ensemble.

Balanced within the orchestra as an equal partner, Freire is completely on top of and inside both works’ solo parts, from No 1’s fervent yet cogently shaped octave outbursts and the B flat’s graceful, light-footed finale to both slow movements’ unforced simplicity, organic flow, and freedom from sentimentality. No doubt that the presence of an audience fuels the palpable give and take between soloist and conductor. Just as the Szell/Cleveland cycles with Serkin and Fleisher (Sony, 3/94R, 4/98) and Gilels/Jochum (DG, 6/96) were benchmarks in their day, these gorgeously engineered, stunningly executed and temperamentally generous performances will stand as points of reference for generations to come.

-- Jed Distler, Gramophone [9/2006]

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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Nelson Freire (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2006 
Venue:  Live  Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 46 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Nelson Freire (Piano)
Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/2005 
Venue:  Live  Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 48 Minutes 53 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Excellent concertos! June 9, 2015 By Gail M. (Goleta, CA) See All My Reviews "Here is one of the few recordings of Brahms' First Piano Concerto that gets the introductory music right! One can hear the violins and the horn in their places all the way through to the entrance of the piano. Along with the Hough-Davis-BBC Symphony performance, this one approaches the excellence of the gold standard for this music, the Fleisher-Szell-Cleveland performance from way back in the 1950s! In both concertos the recording, playing, and sound of the piano simply are excellent." Report Abuse
 None Better March 30, 2014 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "Of course, that's just in my opinion. I wanted a newer recording of the works and this one happened to be in my local library, so I could live with it awhile before making a decision. Everything here is tops in the world, not to be equalled anytime soon." Report Abuse
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