- Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2by Clifford Curzon
Clifford Curzon's recordings of Brahms two piano concertos from 1960 and 1961 were regarded in their day as among the finest ever made. And as reissued here on Decca's Heritage Masters series, they still have to be deemed to be in that class. The reason is simple: the great English pianist finds the ideal balance between heart and mind in Brahms without skimping on the bravura virtuosity. This is not as easy as it sounds. The great German Romantic composer was as famous for hiding his strong feelings as he was for flexing his mental muscle, and to emphasize unduly one or the other can be disastrous. But Curzon finds the middle way between the two, granting the darker, more tempestuous "First Concerto" its full measure of dramatic tragedy and the lighter, more lyrical "Second Concerto" its full measure of joyous release but without shortchanging either works magnificent form and brilliant structure. And along the way, the scrupulous pianist nails every note and hammers each sonority with exactly the correct amount of force and feeling without once descending to showboating or grandstanding. With the masterful but very different accompaniments of George Szell and the London Symphony in the "First Concerto" and Hans Knappertsbusch and the Wiener Philharmoniker in the "Second" (the former being hard, tight, and tough, the latter being sweet, smooth and expansive), Curzon turns in performances that every fan of these works ought to hear. It should be added that the recordings, despite being taped in monaural, are still clearer, deeper, and warmer than most subsequent stereo or digital recordings.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsClifford Curzon Primary Artist
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