Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat

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LABELS: Berlin Classics
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat
PERFORMER: Cécile Ousset (piano)Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur
CATALOGUE NO: BC 2161-2 ADD (1976)
Despite the plethora of competition (including, recently, a most thoughtful Teldec performance from Elisabeth Leonskaja with the same orchestra and conductor), Ousset’s is a distinguished and distinctive account of this much-recorded concerto. It was taped in 1974 in Haus Auensee, a tourist restaurant on the outskirts of Leipzig, whose banqueting hall yields notably clear yet reverberant acoustics; in response she is unusually sparing of pedal, and the whole reading is incisive, strongly rhythmic, Classical rather than Romantic, yet not at all lightweight, and with an especially tender and moving account of the slow movement. The orchestral sound is highly satisfactory, if a little shrill and sheeny at times. Definitely worth consideration. Calum MacDonald