Brendel realizes the solo part of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with a weightiness of tone and the shrewdness of page after page of musical detailing.
...[T]here can be little doubt that it is the orchestra—as ever, peerless in Brahms—that gives this recording its distinctive character. It provides exactly the right fully-fledged symphonic context for Brendel. It also inspires him to realize the solo part with a weightiness of tone and concentration of line that hasn't always been there to complement the natural clarity of his Brahms. Thus, though individual movement timings are virtually identical with those on Brendel's earlier 1973 Amsterdam version on Philips, the scale and musical reach of the performance isRead more considerably extended, as, indeed, is the shrewdness of page after page of musical detailing.
Abbado, too, now takes a shrewder view of the music than he did in 1977 when he recorded the concerto with Pollini in Vienna for DG. No movement suffers more from bland conducting than the miraculous finale. (''We have done our work, let the children play in the world which our work has made safer and happier for them'', as Tovey puts it.) The great representative recording here—seemingly forgotten by DG—was made in Berlin in 1960 by Geza Anda under Ferenc Fricsay's matchlessly idiomatic direction (6/61—nla). This version, it has to be said, is almost in the same league.
-- Richard Osborne,, Gramophone [6/1992] Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83by Johannes Brahms
Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1878-1881; Austria