Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
R E V I E W S
This is a poised, polished rendition of this beloved Brahms masterpiece. Dichter is a clean and honest interpreter, and nothing in the immense score gives his fingers any apparent difficulty. Nevertheless, for aficionados of this piece, I cannot imagine this recording jumping to the front of the line. Simply put, it is lacking in distinction. Dichter does not confront the music so much as he merely reads it, albeit very well. I compared his playing to two of my favorite versions, those of Leon Fleisher and Emil Gilels. Fleisher, with Szell and the Cleveland as his colleagues, finds much more excitement than
Dichter, as evidenced by a far greater dynamic range and rhythmic flexibility. There is a pulse in Fleisher’s playing that underlines the drama of the music, and creates an inexorable flow, making the music cohere as an organic conception. It is, to use an admittedly elusive, but useful term, a more interesting view of the score. Gilels (playing with Jochum and the Berlin) offers the idiosyncratic version, with expansive tempos and gooey, black chocolate tonality. Others have described his performance as Brucknerian, a concept that may in itself turn off purists, but there is no denying the extraordinary depth of expression that Gilels provides. Gilels shows a fundamentally different approach to the music than Fleisher, but both of these great artists share the ability to swallow the music whole, and spew out something to engage and engross the listener.
Dichter also provides a solid, but again, somewhat prosaic version of the Beethoven. However, there are two reasons that might make this recording a worthy purchase. One is Masur’s extraordinarily alert and nuanced performance of the orchestral part (in contrast, alas, to the solo-playing), and the other is the PentaTone production. The recording source is a 1977 Philips Classics quadraphonic production made in Leipzig, and PentaTone has done their usual superb job of bringing an excellent pre-existing tape to the SACD platform. I must disclose that I am evaluating this recording in the stereo, not multichannel, capability, but that is enough to appreciate the excellent balance, colorful tonality, and concert hall ambiance.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Misha Dichter (Piano)
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Written: 1878-1881; Austria
Date of Recording: 06/1977
Venue: Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany
Length: 47 Minutes 19 Secs.
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