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Brahms: Piano Concertos No 1 & 2, Etc / Fleisher


Release Date: 10/14/1997 
Label:  Sony Classical Masterworks Catalog #: 63225   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon FleisherJules Eskin
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The terms "classic" and "definitive", so overused that they are in danger of losing their meaning, absolutely apply to these recordings. The Fleisher/Szell Brahms Piano Concertos, recorded in 1958 and 1962, had not been available since their 1980s incarnation as Odyssey LPs. Now, in amazingly solid, vibrant remastered sound Sony has resurrected these mighty performances, which along with Fleisher's Beethoven concerto recordings, are vital documents of this pianist's early prowess--stunning technique, penetrating musicianship, and well-channeled passion. Szell's fiery, tempestuous reading of the Piano Concerto No. 1's orchestral score (with a riled up Cleveland Orchestra) has never been surpassed, let
Read more alone equaled, not even by Szell himself in his subsequent recordings. Fleisher and Szell present the Second Concerto in a grandly classical manner, relating it to Beethoven's Emperor and avoiding the massiveness and bulk of some more recent interpretations. Here the pianist tellingly combines wit and intelligence with a powerful sense of urgency. The same goes for the appended Waltzes and Handel Variations from 1956, which Fleisher plays with such brilliance that we can't wait for the next passage. Sony has jettisoned the original cardboard packaging for the more sturdy jewel box, hence this new review. Whether paper or plastic, get these great performances while you still can. [11/7/2000]

--Victor Carr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 46 Minutes 48 Secs. 
2.
Variations and Fugue for Piano in B flat major on a theme by Handel, Op. 24 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1956 
Venue:  Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC 
Length: 25 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Jules Eskin (Cello), Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1962 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 47 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1956 
Venue:  Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC 
Length: 18 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Excellent Performances April 29, 2015 By M. Bishop (Clackamas, OR) See All My Reviews "This album begins with a flourish, which is the beginning of Brahms’ first piano concerto. The Cleveland Orchestra plays well under Szell’s management, and the piano playing by Fleisher is superb. The recording quality is excellent, demonstrating a delicate balance between orchestra and piano. Both orchestra and piano are present in this recording, on equal par with each other. The Handel Variations as played by Fleisher compare favorably with the Variations as played by Murray Perahia; both versions are executed equally well (if forced to choose, I would select Perahia’s version over Fleisher’s rendition). All said, this is a top-notch album, which I highly recommend." Report Abuse
 AN ABSOLUTE MUST!!! October 17, 2014 By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL) See All My Reviews "I find a lot of must-have performances on the Classical Masterpieces channel on my TV...and just a few minutes ago I finished listening to, and getting swept up in, Brahms' D-minor concerto as interpreted superbly by Leon Fleisher, George Szell and the inimitable Cleveland Orchestra. Therefore, I decided I had to get the other one, the B-flat concerto, to go with it---and here they are, both of them, an inimitable display of Fleisher's mastery prior to the mishap with his right hand. I remember years ago when I played both concertos, and I was amazed and delighted with the contrasts---the first, supremely dramatic and passionate, the second grand and noble but no less passionate, especially the second-movement scherzo. And cellist Jules Eskin sets the mood of the third movement beautifully---wonder what ever happened to him? In any event, here's my order for both concertos, to go with the magnificent Beethoven set which I proudly own.And the two solo tracks---yummy." Report Abuse
 Fleisher is a winner May 29, 2013 By Ronald  Polimeni (Bellmawr, NJ) See All My Reviews "I always wanted the Brahms set of concertos by one pianist and Fleisher in my my mind is one of the best you can find. His tone and vibratto is number one. The Cleveland Orchestra was also in very fine tune during the recordings. I recommend these recordings immensly." Report Abuse
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