Daniel Barenboim / Gustavo Dudamel / Staatskapelle Berlin BRAHMS The Piano Concertos
This alliance of marquee names proves to be a resounding success, thanks partly to the robust personalities of Barenboim and Dudamel, and partly to the choice of material, showcasing the early and late Brahms.
The Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor was the composer’s first performed orchestral work, and not initially welcomed.
It’s subsequently been reassessed as a youthful masterpiece, especially the haunting Adagio, to which Barenboim here brings a muscular tenderness, while the Staatskapelle Berlin is robust and responsive in the dashing Rondo 22 years later, the Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major” was an instant success, the closing section’s parade of memorable themes, and the unusual prominence of the cello in the third movement both reflecting Brahms’ increased confidence in his abilities. (Andy Gill)