Brahms first piano concerto is an impressive peace of music: Very massive. And, at the end, very rich. In fact, so rich, that there are a lot of different ways to play it. Gilels and Jochum are reputed to have produced one of the reference recording. Time to write about it…

The first time I heard this recording, I was surprised by the quantity of information I was just receiving. Not that I didn’t know this piece of music, but I never heard it like this: Sound and details everywhere I would say. Through this overwhelming mass, the music takes you immediately in a consistent trip. As a result, this record is definitively nothing to be heard at while you are doing something else.

Gilels, Jochum, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the recording technique are consistent here, showing the details in a rich and beautiful sound (not the typical clear and transparent sound you hear often nowadays, basses are very present!), playing with the dynamics of the score. The tempi are quite slow in my view, enhancing the impressions of huge construct, and allowing to hear every detail.

So, do I like this recording? I understand why it is a reference, and yes, I like it, but its not the kind of recordings I hear everyday, as there is a very marked parti pris. Some days its OK, and other days, I prefer some more immediate, accessible recording of this concerto.

Kind Regards,

Christophe Grévent