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Rubinstein Collection Vol 81 - Brahms: Piano Concerto No 1 / Mehta

Release Date: 10/09/2001 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 63081   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is quite a feat to undertake a recording of Brahms One in one's seventies. At eighty the task is Herculean. Rubinstein was eighty-nine. It was his final concerto recording, in May 1976, and followed his discs of the same work with Leinsdorf in Boston in 1964 and his earlier and most famous recording of the concerto with Reiner in Chicago in 1954... This is a predominantly slow reading, still moving, but not really comparable with the earlier recordings - and especially that with Reiner – in either vigour or finesse. After a dramatic but broad opening tutti Rubinstein enters at a much slower tempo, with very slightly choppy rhythm. Not all his trills are clean and he has obvious problems – as noted above – in those dramatic octave Read more passages. Yet there is something quietly and nourishingly compelling about the playing in the slow movement - for all that the balance characteristically favoured the soloist to an unnatural degree. The finale is slow but full of clarity and playfulness. As throughout there are numerous finger slips – some minor, some not – and listen at 7’01 for a particular example. But be sure as well to listen at 10’00 to the insouciance and sheer cheekiness of his playing, with his spicy treble fillips. Even at 89 he was incorrigible, especially in the light of the immediately succeeding passage – very, very scrappy.

An uneven disc then; it’s probably better to remember Rubinstein’s Brahms One from his 1954 sessions than to persist with the imperfections of old age in this moving but flawed last testament.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
reviewing this recording previously reissued as Eloquence 466724 Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1976 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Noble Failure December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "This CD documents Arthur Rubinstein's final of three recordings of Brahms D minor Concerto. After Chopin, Rubinstein recorded more of Brahms' music than that of any other composer. It is fitting, therefore, that the first and last concertos he recorded were by Brahms. This Concerto is a difficult work to pull off successfully: the piano part is ungrateful, and often drowned out by an over-orchestrated accompaniment. Also, many pianists--most notably Glenn Gould--tend to drag the tempos beyond all reason. Rubinstein, who was ten years old when Brahms died, would never have considered such a nonsensical approach. The Concerto was written early in Brahms career, and was the work of a young man. In essence, "Brahms without the beard."
Rubinstein was at a disadvantage when he made this recording in 1976. Extreme old age had robbed him of much of his hearing, and macular degeneration had left him almost totally blind. While the 89 year old pianist gives his best effort, the performance suffers from numerous missed notes, clotted chords, and rhythmic distortions. In addition, tempos are unsteady, phrasing is tentative, and the performance as a whole lacks Rubinstein's usual structural continuity. Occasionally, a sense of nobility comes through, but this is in no way of the same caliber as Rubinstein's earlier recordings (from 1954, with Reiner and the Chicago Symphony on Volume 34; and from 1964 with Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Volume 59). Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic furnish a committed accompaniment.

The recorded sound is fine, but the performance problems and lack of any filler pieces will disqualify this issue for all but the most fanatical Rubinstein enthusiasts."
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