- Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
- Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
With the widespread popularity of stereophonic sound by 1957, it is perplexing that this 1966 recording of Brahms' second piano concerto would be made in monaural sound. Still more puzzling is why more was not done during remastering to brighten the sound. The result is an overall unsatisfactory sound quality wherein only the instrument that happens to be playing the loudest may be heard. The piano, in particular the left hand, is very muddy. While interesting from an historical perspective, John Ogdon's performance is inconsistent from one moment to the next. The Brahms runs the gamut: the extremely slow first movement is filled with plodding, pounded-out, interminable sequences while the fourth movement has occasional moments of graceful playfulness. This same inconsistency is found in the Beethoven. Many of the forte chordal passages in the first movement are filled with extra notes and the left hand is often an indistinguishable blur of sound. In contrast, the much gentler Arietta presents much more elegance and introspection. This recording is truly for collectors and not for those seeking to obtain their first recording of either of these pieces. If performances from this era are appealing, listeners are referred to Rubinstein's 1971 recording of the Brahms and Kempff's 1956 recording of the Beethoven.