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Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1878-1881; Austria
Date of Recording: 08/11/1952
Venue: Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Length: 43 Minutes 26 Secs.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1868/1907; Norway
Date of Recording: 08/22/1949
Venue: Republic Studios, Hollywood, California
Length: 26 Minutes 47 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Rubinstein in Two of his Favorite Concertos December 16, 2011
By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews
"Volume 22 of RCA's mammoth Arthur Rubinstein Collection features the pianist in his second recorded go-rounds of two of his favorite concertos. He recorded both the Brahms Second and Grieg Piano Concertos four times. The mono recordings on this CD were eclipsed by stereo versions made in the late 1950s.
Rubinstein's 1952 performance of the Brahms Second Concerto is considerably more controlled than his 1929 version (Volume 1). There are a few inconsequential mistakes here-and-there. Magnetic tape recording was in its infancy at the time, and recording producers were a bit more cautious with tape splicing than in today's recordings, which are usually spliced together bar-by-bar. Nevertheless, this remains an extroverted, youthful performance of the concerto, far superior to Rubinstein's 1971 remake (Volume 71). The Boston Symphony Orchestra, under Charles Munch provides a glowing accompaniment. This recording was made in Boston's Symphony Hall, one of the most acoustically perfect halls in the world, and it shows in the vibrant, clear recorded sound.
Rubinstein's 1949 version of the Grieg Concerto is given a crisp, bracing performance. Here, as in the Brahms, Rubinstein's subtle use of rubato is never allowed to interfere with the forward motion of the music. Antal Dorati and the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra provide a strong accompaniment. (In reality, the "RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra" didn't exist. This was a name given to whatever pickup orchestra RCA could put together, whether in California, New York, or abroad. In this case, it was mostly assembled from musicians from Hollywood film scoring orchestras.) This recording was made at Republic Studio's film scoring stage in Hollywood. The sound is a bit dry, but well balanced and acceptable.
Both of these recordings are returning to active circulation after an absence of over forty years. In an era populated by mostly note perfect but dull recordings, they are a welcome tonic. "