BRAHMS Piano Concertos / Pollini 4793985
Grand performances both indeed, and engineers have provided a natural balance.
[Brahms 1]: The Staatskapelle Dresden under Thielemann provide a thrilling orchestral introduction to commence the massive and dramatic first movement "Maestoso". It absolutely pulsates with drama. One immediately notices how Pollini strikes the keys with fluidity and everything is shaped with absolute care. The glorious lyrical theme with Pollini playing alone is so spine-tingling, so intimate. Also striking is the rock-solid playing throughout from both soloist and orchestra. In the Adagio Pollini provides captivating playing of a meditative, almost reverential, quality. The final movement, a Rondo -- Allegro non troppo, sees Pollini playing the syncopated rhythms with vibrancy and astutely bringing out the nervous anxiety of the writing. Playing with total assurance and deep concentration overall Pollini creates a sense of awe that feels completely engaging . . . [Brahms 2]: Pollini is able to convey considerable tone colour and still communicate a sense of spontaneity. The short weeping horn solo which opens the score is impressive and beautifully in tune. The terse and rather angry piano part of the opening movement, Allegro non troppo, is interpreted alertly by Pollini in a performance of deep concentration. The sensation of tension generated by the Staatskapelle Dresden under Thielemann is striking, with an elevated degree of drama in the coda. Pollini, with seemingly effortless technical command, provides impressive dynamics in the stormy writing of the Scherzo. There's also a masterly rubato that feels utterly instinctive. Thielemann ensures that the orchestral section at the conclusion conveys breathtaking excitement . . . Pollini's sense of introspection is extraordinary, with engrossingly poetic playing imbued with a sense of yearning, which contrasts beautifully with the unsettling and windswept conversation of the writing. In Pollini's hands the finale, Allegretto grazioso, is uplifting and buoyant, while the Staatskapelle Dresden also revel in such joyful writing . . . Throughout, Pollini's playing feels so fresh and fluid, providing impressive lyricism and a wide palette of colour . . . the sound engineers excel and provide a reasonably close recording with excellent detail and balance . . . these are masterful Brahms performances by Pollini full of intensity and character.