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Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2; Strauss: Burleske / Serkin

Release Date: 04/29/2009 
Label:  Sony Classical Essential Classics Catalog #: 53262   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsRichard Strauss
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin
Conductor:  George SzellEugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland OrchestraPhiladelphia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Serkin is ursine and magisterial in his approach, but with a feline agility in the quicker music that surprises.

This version of Brahms 2 disc has been around for at least a decade and music-lovers (the fortunate ones of longer standing) will know of it from many previous versions on LP, cassette and even CD. This has been something of a nostalgic journey for me. I bought a bargain box CBS LP set of the Serkin Brahms concertos back in 1971. Their attractions have not dwindled in the intervening years and the Brahms 2 is quite simply terrific.

Serkin is ursine and magisterial in his approach. However he has a feline agility in the quicker music that surprises in one who so naturally expresses the epic.
Read more This dichotomy is best displayed in the Second Concerto which recording must assuredly be counted among the greats. This is an unconditional must-have for those who can live with the original CBS sound. OK so it is a mite grainy and just slightly unfocused. Szell's Clevelanders have plenty of bite and a gravelly determination that is deeply impressive.

Throughout the Cleveland strings are searching though not as lustrous as they could be. The layers of texture are merged more closely in a sound signature that is peculiarly American and for which the CBS engineers presumably strove. The weighty string sound is homogeneous and edge-of-seat alert with probing emotionalism.

The Strauss Burleske is a felicitous apt companion to the Brahms Second and follows on - very much in keeping with the joyous spirit of the Brahms finale.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 47 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, AV 85 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1886; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/03/1966 
Venue:  Town Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Length: 19 Minutes 19 Secs. 

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