Brahms, Macdowell

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms,Macdowell
LABELS: RCA Victor Living
WORKS: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat. Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor
PERFORMER: Van Cliburn (piano); Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner, Walter Hendl
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68480 2 ADD 1961/60
I’ve always had an affection for this 1961 RCA recording of Brahms’s B flat Concerto (critically overshadowed by Richter’s near-contemporary version with the same conductor and orchestra). It still sounds very good: Cliburn, at the height of his powers, has a formidable range of touch. This fiery, spaciously structured account is vastly preferable to his 1972 Moscow performance with Kondrashin, also on RCA. The seldom-recorded MacDowell Concerto – a hugely enjoyable version, ably conducted by Hendl – makes for an unusual and attractive coupling. The sound is excellent, especially in the Brahms. Calum MacDonald