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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1; Overtures

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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1; Overtures
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1; Overtures


Following his still-little-known first account with Enrique Jorda on the podium, and made nine years before his celebrated partnership with George Szell and the LSO, this is Clifford Curzons second recording for Decca of Brahmss First Piano Concerto, a work which defined his reputation in the 1950s and early 60s as an imperious yet deeply introspective artist, just as his later work on Mozart with Benjamin Britten and Beethoven with Boulez revealed more spontaneously lyrical and less rigorous aspects to his pianism. And for all that Curzon was renowned in this work for revealing the inner soul of Brahms (Fanfare), his partnership with Eduard van Beinum never underplays the bold and craggy drama of the work, or the sense of it as a young mans statement to the world, in terms of both Brahms the would-be symphonic composer and Brahms the fully-formed keyboard lion of his age. The Concerto is complemented here by the two Brahms overtures which Van Beinum recorded in December 1952 for Decca (mono) and then again in 1958 in stereo for Philips (reissued on Eloquence 4429788). These earlier mono accounts are less familiar and more dynamically impetuous, but the relationship between orchestra and conductor in this music had already been forged by two Decca recordings of the First Symphony (in 1947 and 1951), and these performances share a proto-symphonic, rugged grandeur which is apt to the symphony. They were recorded as part of a month of sessions which took in the Haydn Variations as well as symphonies by Haydn and Schubert and En Saga and Tapiola of Sibelius, which have also been reissued as part of Eloquences ongoing revival of Van Beinums legacy on record. The Concerto recording from just six months later took place in sessions also supervised by the legendary Decca producer, John Culshaw. Mr. Curzon offers a more relaxed, slower, warmer performance [than Serkin], adjectives that can be used also about Mr. van Beinums conception of the work. The orchestral sound is full and clearly defined, and Mr. Curzons solid tone stands out in admirable relief ... The Adagio is superb in its delicacy, poignancy, and tragic implications, and the last movement, given a slower, more lyric treatment, seems less elephantine than it sometimes does. High Fidelity, June 1954 (Piano Concerto No.1) * FIRST RELEASE ON CD


  1. Name
  2. JOHANNES BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 15
  3. Tragic Overture, Op. 81*
  4. Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80*
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