Sometimes we find fortune conspiring to produce an ideal confluence of performers in certain works. When it happens once, we feel lucky. When it happens over and over again, as it did with pianist Stephen Kovacevich, conductor Colin Davis, and the London Symphony Orchestra, it's probably more like fate than luck. Think about it: During a period of about ten years several decades ago, Kovacevich, Davis, and the LSO gave us some of the best Beethoven Piano Concertos ever, some of the best Mozart Piano Concertos, probably THE best Bartok, Grieg, and Schumann Piano Concertos, and these two Brahms Piano Concertos. It's gratifying to have the Philips recordings of the Brahms Piano Concertos now reissued in this Newton Classics set.
Philips recorded the two Piano Concertos in 1979, with the Second Concerto initially sounding better than the First. Remastered on this 2010 Newton Classics set, however, I hear little of the bass overhang in the First that I noticed years ago fogging over the midrange. The only thing is that in both works, the piano is a little more forward than I like, the instrument seeming a tad bigger than the accompanying orchestra.
John J. Puccio