Rattle, Zimerman: Brahms - Piano Concerto no.1 (FLAC)
Rattle, Zimerman: Brahms - Piano Concerto no.1 (FLAC)

Performer: Krystian Zimerman
Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Simon Rattle
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 188 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

01. Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 – 1. Maestoso – Poco più moderato
02. Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 – 2. Adagio
03. Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, Op.15 – 3. Rondo (Allegro non troppo)

“A great orchestra, a great pianist, but the performance fails to grip me…”

It is difficult to find a better orchestra than the Berlin Philharmonic, and a more technically solid and sensitive pianist than Krystian Zimerman. Yet, this performance of one of my favorite concertos fails to grip me as a number of others have. The opening orchestral exposition is magnificent with all the power, drive and drama that Brahms intended. But as soon as the piano enters, that forward motion is lost to what I feel is over-interpretation — focusing too much on the phrase as the unit rather than on the long line leading one from section to section. There is often a feeling of holding back when the music says “go on.” There are sections in movement one that are just fine, but in a work of this dimension, over 50 minutes, one simply cannot conceive it without thinking of the architectural whole and of how to make the work cohere and move inevitably from the opening to the final chord. In the slow movement, when the “A” section returns, there is a long crescendo, the apex of which does not occur on the highest notes, but rather on lower ones. Zimerman ignores this and for me destroys this movement (check out the Rubinstein recording). I liked his last movement best. The tempo was ideal when many pianist play it too slowly. Brahms expected the artist to have and use a bravura technique here. At 51 minutes, this disc is rather short compared to most. Perhaps my criticisms are niggling, but if you own a dozen recordings of this work, you cannot avoid making comparisons. It is beautifully recorded and I’m sure will delight most listeners.

2 Comments

  1. Whatever, thank you. I think Zimerman is too much virtuosistic to play a good Brahms, but his vision of the work seems to me very complete. I prefer, clearly, Arrau in this repertoire, but in any way, thank you again, Whatever.

  2. I love Zimerman as a pianist and for me this Brahms excells on so many levels..the Berlin Phil too are on excellent form with Rattle at the helm and provide an energetic and vibrant yet sympathetic accompaniment. A wonderful recording and a personal favourite. Thank you again for another superb offering Whatever!!:)

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