Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann * Brahms: Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24

Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann * Brahms: Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24

Article excerpt

Schumann * Brahms [G]

Brahms Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24 (a)

Schumann Piano Concerto, Op 54 (b)

Alfred Brendel pf

(b) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattl

Decca (F) 483 3288 (59' * DDD)

Recorded live at the (a) Konzerthaus, Vienna, June 4, 1979; (b) Musikverein, Vienna, March 11, 2001

'Next to ... Liszt's Variations on Bach's "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" ... I found the neoclassicist/neo-baroque corset worn by Brahms somewhat irritating.' So writes Brendel in his mischievous and engaging note, which is why he has never made a commercial recording of Brahms's Handel Variations, unlike the Schumann Concerto, which he has recorded several times in the distinguished company of Haitink, Abbado and Sanderling.

So do we need another account of the Schumann from Brendel? Yes, when it's this fine--caught on the wing in the company of the VPO and Rattle in 2001. The orchestral playing is predictably superb, from the solo oboe onwards, with the strings finding myriad colours and shadings. Rattle and Brendel mould a reading that ebbs and flows with complete naturalness. There's no place for extremes of tempo here; instead, Brendel lets the score be his guide, and the moments where he becomes accompanist are wonderfully subtle. There are odd noises off--at 3'14" in the first movement it sounds as if someone is jangling a pocketful of change--but the distraction is momentary. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.