This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Sawallisch appears to be the dominant factor in these Brahms performances, as conductor and as pianist, which reflect concerns with bringing clarity to thick texts, and respecting expression and tempo markings. Heavily subdivided rhythms are straightforward yet supple. The clean, inner detail of the Concerto, some of which I attribute to the engineering, offers an interesting foil to Teldec's Perlman/Ma/Barenboim/Chicago CD of the Concerto reviewed in 21:1, where the detail is chalked up to the edges and outlines that Barenboim establishes in manipulated, untraditional ways.
The other players mostly see things the same way as their elder colleague at the keyboard and on the podium: Zimmermann and Schiff are concerned but not
obsessed with rhythmic exactitude, and play their solos with a quotient of musical rhetoric. Their pronounced (and mostly well-matched) vibratos provide the needed personality and expression without reliance on any particular manipulations of the music. Tempos are standard ones, close to the Perlman/Ma, Stern/Ma on Sony (11:6), and Perlman/Rostropovich on EMI (13:1) recordings. They are by no means slow, but substantially slower than Milstein/Piatigorsky/Reiner (17:1), Heifetz/Piatigorsky/Wallenstein, and Mischakoff/Miller/Toscanini, all RCA Victor reissues and all rather tautly organized.
The Horn Trio is a fastidious but flexible rendition, again at standard tempos, with all gestures within traditional bounds rather than the nervous, programmatic expression of the fascinating Salerno-Sonnenberg/Cerininaro/Licad recording, also on EMI. Sawallisch is a powerful pianist, and the second and fourth movements are zesty and driving, made more so by the agitated shiver in Zinimermann's vibrato. Neunecker is most assured when playing loud; Tuckwell, in his London recording with Perlman and Ashkenazy, rings out strongly and is even better than she is at soft playing. During the final, tragic measures of the third movement, one of Brahms's most openly emotional creations, Sawallisch manages to conjure up something of an organ-with-timpani sound on the piano. A stimulating highlight to a satisfying release.
-- David K. Nelson, FANFARE
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