Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel, Brahms: The Piano Concertos - Album review

Download: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major; Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor

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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.