Sunday, November 6

Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto with Richter: Leinsdorf or Maazel?

There are several recordings of Brahms 2nd PC with Richter. Two of them are in my view the best: one with Erich Leinsdorf and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the other with Lorin Maazel and L' Orchestre de Paris. Richter did not particularly like his Leinsdord recording but he is not to be taken too seriously as he did not like most of his recordings apparently! 

I personally think that both recordings are excellent indeed, but I am particularly fond of the second one (Maazel), for rather subjective reasons: I was at school when someone in my class gave me a cassete with this recording and I fall in love with it! Richter's sound is so identifiable there, so unmistakably his! Maazel has done a splendid job with the orchesta - which is particularly crucial in this concerto, a work that I think could be considered as a "symphony" with the participation of the piano. 

Richter has played this concerto pretty early in his carrier and has performed it dozens of time. (I was thinking the other day, in what ways the approach to a work can evolve, if performed so many times! I normally manage to play a work (in public) two, maximum three, times. How my performance would be after, say, 50 times? I just cannot imagine!). 


Anonymous said...

Hello Christos

I wonder what you might think of Geza Anda's recording with Karajan.
It has always been my personal favourite, for its grandeur and the sense of visceral sound it transmits to me.

I ve listened to the Leinsdorf recording and I agree with you. I think Richter is a victim of his own virtuosity here, he takes some passages too quickly and with much freedom in tempo, perhaps showing off a bit, starting from the cadenza. He does the same with the Mravinski recording. I think this concerto relates a lot to the second symphony in mood, a sense of a big river flowing, retaining a serenity despite the ups and downs. One of my all time favourites.

You made me very keen to get hold of the Maazel version now

Χρόνια Πολλά για το Νικολάκη σας τις προάλλες. Να τον χαίρεστε...

Thodoros Bargiotas

christos makropoulos said...

thank you very much for your comment and your wishes. I don't know Anda's version, I must admit! Can I find in on utube? Do send me the link. Brahms 2nd PC is one of the grandest concertos every written for the piano. There is also a legendary recording with Emil Gilels and the (amazing and superb) Royal Amsterdam Concertgebow Orchestra. Which cadenza are you referring to? (There isn't one, strictly speaking. Except perhaps the solo piano part, in the beggining of the 1st movement - if I remember correctly!!). Do listen to Maazel's version! And tell me what you thought of it.

Ευχαριστώ για τις ευχές... πώς είστε; Εμείς εδώ... καλά... γενικά. θα μας έρθετε τα Χριστούγεννα; Φιλιά.

John Southorn said...

Agree re Leinsdorf recording - but the 3rd movement is to me a real desert island disc and as perfect as it gets! I have no idea why this recording was never recommended by Penguin/Gramophone guides other than the fact it is not uniformly outstanding as you suggest. john Southorn, Scotland

christos makropoulos said...

Thank you, John, for this interesting comment. So, between Maazel and Leinsdorf, which one do you prefer?