Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2, Op 83

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2, Op 83

Article excerpt

Brahms

Piano Concerto No 2, Op 83

Maurizio Pollini pf

Staatskapelle Dresden / Christian Thielemann

DG [F] 479 2384GH (47' * DDD)

Those who admire the intelligent, direct and stylishly lean virtuosity that Maurizio Pollini has long brought to Brahms's Second Concerto will want to know how the pianist's new recording with Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden compares with his two earlier versions, both conducted by the late Claudio Abbado. Sonically speaking, the present performance's warm ambience and natural soloist/orchestra balance resembles the 1977 Vienna traversal, as opposed to the overly close and occasionally congested engineering of the 1995 Berlin recording. Pollini's gold-standard technique remains impressively commanding, although the scherzo's unaccompanied sotto voce legato octave and double-note passage and the launch of the finale's Unpoco piu presto are not quite so light and supple as before. On the other hand, the first movement lacks nothing in power and tonal heft, while Pollini imbues the magical trills and broken octaves (beginning at bar 335) with newfound inflections and shadings.

The slow movement is quicker now, largely due to Pollini's more engaging left-hand lines. …

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