On sale from July 19th, ABC Classics presents the latest addition to the MSO Live Series with a 2 CD set recording of Brahms’ Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2, in live performances by Garrick Ohlsson and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tadaaki Otaka.
Robert Schumann described Brahms as ‘a player of genius who can make the piano an orchestra’. Both of Brahms’ piano concertos are considered masterpieces.
The first grew from the grief of watching Schumann, his mentor and dear friend, languishing in a mental asylum. It begins with a roaring timpani and moves from tenderness and regret, to frustration and fury. It also embodies Brahms’ confused feelings for Schumann’s wife Clara. The slow movement of this concerto opens with a serenity that Brahms admitted was intended as a portrait of Clara.
Brahms’ second piano concerto came from a happier time. Considered lyrical and as vast as a symphony, yet at times as intimate as a string quartet, it is full of Romantic ardour and brilliance, but also eloquent and soulful, ending in the abandon of a Hungarian-inspired gypsy dance.
Established in 1906 the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is the nation’s oldest, and carries a reputation for excellence, versatility and innovation. Its repertoire includes performances of the great symphonic masterworks with leading international and Australian artists.
Since winning the Gold Medal at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, Garrick Ohlsson has a worldwide reputation as a musician of interpretive and technical prowess. His repertoire is varied with more than 80 concertos at his command, but he has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
Tadaaki Otaka is the Permanent Conductor of Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, and of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. He is Conductor Laureate of BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Artistic Director at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, and Music Adviser and Principal Conductor of the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo, which he founded in 1995 and regarded as one of Japan’s best chamber ensembles. Tadaaki Otaka served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2012.
On the CD:
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
1 I. Maestoso
2 II. Adagio
3 III. Rondo (Allegro non troppo)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83
1 I. Allegro non troppo
2 II. Allegro appassionato
3 III. Andante
4 IV. Allegretto grazioso – Un poco più presto
Garrick Ohlsson piano
Tadaaki Otaka conductor
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra