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Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Kl

Kovacevic; Davis; London Symphony Orchestra , Brahms Johannes Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 21.75 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kovacevich's and Colin Davis's Magisterial Brahms Sept. 9 2010
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
I don't know whether these performances of the two Brahms piano concertos were ever released commercially. I certainly never heard them if they were and I don't find evidence that they are now widely available otherwise. However, these 1975 recordings with Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra during one of that orchestra's finest eras, the Previn years, are certainly worth preserving. Aside from some sonic congestion in the first movement of the First Concerto, these two discs, which also contain Brahms solo piano works played by Kovacevich, are beautifully recorded and engineered.

The second movement of the First Concerto, conceived by Brahms as a tribute to his later mentor Robert Schumann, is played elegiacally; I got goosebumps. The string and wind playing in this recording is a real tribute to the talents of the LSO in the 1970s.

There are recordings of the two Brahms concerti with Kovacevich backed by Wolfgang Sawallisch and The Philharmonia; the present recordings are actually, to my taste, more expansive and dramatic than those. The Second Concerto, which benefits from Davis' and Kovacevich's management of the work's architecture, is one of the better readings I've ever heard. In some ways it reminded me of the old recording by Dame Myra Hess and then I remembered that indeed Kovacevich (then known as Stephen Bishop) was a pupil of Hess's.

As for the solo works included, I hadn't heard the Op. 4 Scherzo in years and was pleased to hear Kovacevich's brilliant account. Of course, he is known as a fine Brahms player and both the Op. 10 Ballades and the Op. 76 Klavierstücke bear that out.

This set is budget-priced and worth every penny. A winner.

Scott Morrison
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performances in good remastered sound April 10 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
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
Classical Candor
5.0 out of 5 stars It Rivals Fleisher/Szell May 3 2014
By Frank D. V. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I heard a few good things here and there about this recording. Lately I have been on a Brahms Piano Concerto kick. I bought it and am listening to it right now.

This is a monster of a performance. Strong, powerful, confident, full of vigor and then surprisingly textured in spots. The Adagio in Concerto #1 is absolutely sublime with rich and sometimes aching emotion, but never sentimental. Kovacevich's power he puts forth in both Concertos blows you away. It may be mistaken as banging in some parts, but that is due more to the recording itself which is poorly engineered with much too much low register which smothers the mid and higher registers at times.

Davis does a stellar job in both concertos with the LSO as any conductor must with these two pieces. They are almost as much symphonies as they are concertos. He brings a nice balance between the strings, horns, & woodwinds, although sometimes hard to hear due the aformentioned sound quality.

I wasn't expecting much due to the fact that I do not have any of Kovacevich's recordings outside Bartok's Piano Concerto's #1-3 which I have not listened to in years. I will have to do that next to see how he does more than 100 years later. So needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend this set of Brahms Piano Concertos. It should take it's place amongst the best company such as Fleisher/Szell, Rubinstein/Reiner, Curzon/Szell, & Horowitz/Toscanini.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Pair Of Brahms Concertos Nov. 12 2012
By JohnK - Published on Amazon.com
This set includes both of the Brahms piano concertos, with the op. 4 Scherzo, Op. 10 Ballades, and Op. 76 Klavierstucke. The piano performances by Kovacevich are first-rate throughout, but the sound in the first concerto is really disappointing. The second concerto and solo pieces are much better. There are some other versions of these concertos by Kovacevich in the catalog; listeners seeking superior sound should look elsewhere. Notes are included with these discs.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kovacevich and Brahms Nov. 29 2010
By Bruce A. Mcdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
When I was living in Edinburgh, I heard Kovacevich play the Brahms 2nd concerto with the Royal Scottish National Or-chestra. It was superb! It's a very difficult concerto to bring off; the ensemble is not easy, and it's a concerto that has to sing. This fine recording, along with a splendid concerto #1 and the Op. 76 Klavierstucke, is well worth anyone's time. This is excellent playing, and Philips' remastering of the originals is top-notch. Go for it!

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