- Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
- Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
The old model for creating a hit classical recording -- big-name soloist plus big-name conductor in major repertory work -- is not so common anymore, but this live Brahms recording from the Staatskapelle Berlin under Venezuela's Gustavo Dudamel, with Argentine-Israeli-Palestinian-Spanish pianist Daniel Barenboim as soloist, shows that there's life in the concept yet. One could point to the virtues of pianist and conductor separately: it's a rare septuagenarian who can combine power and clear articulation of detail the way Barenboim does, and Dudamel builds a vast sweep in, especially, the "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15." But it's the way that the two work together that really makes news. Chalk it up to shared South American heritage or to whatever the listener wants, but the way the orchestra and piano define separate spheres and work them together is extraordinary. Again, it is in the "Piano Concerto No. 1" and its Beethovenian drama that their mutual understanding is most evident, but there is a sense of great variety powerfully unified throughout. Deutsche Grammophon, working in the Philharmonie in Berlin, delivers live sound that's just about as good as it gets.