Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Two Piano Concertos

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Two Piano Concertos

Article excerpt

Brahms Two Piano Concertos Adam Laloum pf Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Kazuki Yamada Sony Classical (B) (2) 88985 46081-2 (96' * DDD)

The French pianist Adam Laloum is Sony's newest young artist on the block, signed in 2016. Seven years earlier he won the Clara Haskil Competition (often a marker of major musical talent). Certainly the repertoire choice for his debut recording on the label is bold--reminiscent of another Sony signing, a certain Mr Levit. The comparisons don't end there, either, for they were both born in 1987 and both are clearly being marketed as musicians of entirely serious intent, Laloum pictured with his eyes cast away from the camera. Happily, that seriousness is borne out by the playing in the two Brahms concertos.

The Sony engineers have placed the piano at the front of the sound picture, so there's never the slightest danger Laloum will not be heard. He's an artist who relishes the lyrical side of his chosen instrument, which is clear from his very first entry in the D minor Concerto and from then on in, with Laloum insinuating himself into the orchestral textures and accompanying figures with a naturalness that betrays his love of chamber music. But he can be bold as well as gentle: his octaves have power without sounding acerbic, and trills are sternly glinting. Occasionally I wanted more of a push through this mighty movement, such as Paul Lewis finds in his thrilling account, compared to which Laloum sounds almost too controlled. …

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