Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor; Ballades, Op. 10

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COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: DG Galleria
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor; Ballades, Op. 10
PERFORMER: Emil Gilels (piano)Berlin PO/Eugen Jochum
CATALOGUE NO: 439 979-2 ADD (1972/76)
One of the classic Brahms D minors. Jochum’s opening tempo seems slightly ponderous but proves perfectly suited to Gilels’s spacious and magisterial view of the first movement. The 1972 recording is wonderfully vivid, with an unusually wide dynamic range. Gilels brings mind, muscle and immense lyric gravitas to the solo part; his reading of the slow movement is unsurpassed for innigkeit and barely suppressed passion. The solo Ballades (a Finnish performance from 1975), occasionally oratorical, and with insignificant blemishes, are nonetheless spellbinding. Gilels understands their narrative essence perfectly. Calum MacDonald

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