- Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2.
Early in his career, Johannes Brahms was a Choral Director. He was also an outstanding pianist, and his Sonatas, as well as shorter solo pieces reflect this pianistic excellence.
In his two piano concerti, Brahms was totally aware of the “shadow of Beethoven” looking over him. But Brahms took his time; and the two concerti he produced are quite original, very passionate, end highly enjoyable.
On this recording we hear the following:
- Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, performed with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83, performed with the Wiener Philharmoniker
These two Brahms piano concertos present an amazing challenge to the soloist and orchestra. The music is both passionate and poetic, and the orchestra often plays together with the soloist at full volume, which makes balancing the voices quite difficult.
The soloist faces a piano part that is quite complex in both pieces: In the first movement of the first concerto, the crashing chords are a physical challenge. And in the scherzo of the second concerto, we hear the bass in some of the most amazing octaves in the music literature.
Here is Hélène Grimaud in an extract from Brahms’ piano concerto No. 1:
Tags: Hélène Grimaud, Johannes Brahms, Concerto #1, Concerto #2