Brahms: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Works for Solo Piano

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Recorded for two different record companies over 14 years in five different locations, Emanuel Ax's Brahms concertos plus his "Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79"; "Three Intermezzos, Op. 117"; and "Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119," are joined together for the first time here on two discs. Given the span in space and time, Ax is surprisingly quite consistent in his approach. The same emphasis on content over form, on heart over mind, on lyricism over drama is equally present in both concertos as well as in all the solo works. Accompanied by the strong-willed James Levine leading the Chicago Symphony in 1983, Ax turns in a passionate but nuanced performance of the "D minor Concerto," while...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Recorded for two different record companies over 14 years in five different locations, Emanuel Ax's Brahms concertos plus his "Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79"; "Three Intermezzos, Op. 117"; and "Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119," are joined together for the first time here on two discs. Given the span in space and time, Ax is surprisingly quite consistent in his approach. The same emphasis on content over form, on heart over mind, on lyricism over drama is equally present in both concertos as well as in all the solo works. Accompanied by the strong-willed James Levine leading the Chicago Symphony in 1983, Ax turns in a passionate but nuanced performance of the "D minor Concerto," while accompanied by the self-effacing Bernard Haitink leading the Boston Symphony in 1997, he turns in a powerful but controlled performance of the "B flat major Concerto." While listeners who enjoy Richter and Gilels' scowling Brahms may find Ax's Brahms a bit staid, listeners who enjoy Arthur Rubinstein's smiling Brahms will find Ax's Brahms feels like coming home. Even better examples of Ax's way with Brahms are his recordings of the solo piano music. His "Rhapsodies" are superbly poised between restraint and recklessness; his "Intermezzos" are wonderfully inward but not unduly intimate; and his piano pieces are ideally balanced between hope and despair. While there are surely other Brahms' concerto recordings, one ought to hear as well -- the venerable Backhaus, Schnabel, Fischer, and Kempff recordings along with the more recent Arrau, Richter, Gilels, Pollini, Kovacevich, and Hamelin recordings -- fans of the Polish-American Ax who don't already know these performances from their previous releases will surely want to hear these recordings. Whether recorded by Sony or RCA, the sound of this reissue is uniformly clean and full.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/9/2007
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • UPC: 886970351027
  • Catalog Number: 703510
  • Sales rank: 9,497

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (50:11)
  2. 4–5 Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79 - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (16:52)
  3. 5 Pieces (4) for piano, Op. 119: No. 4: Rhapsody in E-flat Major - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (5:18)
Disc 2
  1. 1–4 Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (49:46)
  2. 5–7 Intermezzi (3) for piano, Op. 117 - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (15:20)
  3. 6 Pieces (4) for piano, Op. 119: No. 1: Intermezzo in B minor - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (4:18)
  4. 7 Pieces (4) for piano, Op. 119: No. 2: Intermezzo in E Minor - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (4:49)
  5. 8 Pieces (4) for piano, Op. 119: No. 3: Intermezzo in C Major - Johannes Brahms & Emanuel Ax (1:42)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Emanuel Ax Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2012

    This is not disappointing. He plays well, thought not a strong l

    This is not disappointing. He plays well, thought not a strong left hand. I was glad to find two disc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An Intimate Conversation Between Brahms and Ax

    The two CD album recently released by Sony is a gathering of some of the finest moments Emanuel Ax has recorded of the music of his beloved Johannes Brahms. Long respected for his intelligence, self-effacing performances where it is clear that the genius of the moment is the composer not the pianist, and his close partnership with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and others in chamber recitals, Emanuel Ax is in many ways a musician's musician. Not only is he technically brilliant as a pianist, he is also a poet at the keyboard. For this special release Ax offers the program notes, words that reflect his sincerity and vision of the music Brahms. The first CD opens with a grand Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor recorded with the Chicago Symphony under the direction of James Levine in 1983. It is approached in the grand Romantic style with Levine providing muscular support form the orchestra and yet allowing the mysticism of the Adagio to be the magic of Ax's controlled passion. The second CD features a 1997 recording of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major with Bernard Haitink collaborating with the Boston Symphony Orchestra: the majesty and elegance of Ax's approach reminds this listener of the treasured performance by Rudolf Serkin of many years ago. It is an exquisitely understated yet richly robust recording. The 'fillers' for these discs are works for solo piano written by Brahms out of his devotion to pianist Clara Schumann and the works reflect that thwarted romance. Especially successful are the Three Intermezzos Op.117, but the Rhapsodies Op. 79 and the Four Pieces for Piano Op. 119 are as sensitively performed as any other artist's on recording. This is a superb collection of Brahms' piano works, with performances of the concerti as fine as any available. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews