Late Brahms Piano Works -- that's Ops 116 - 119 mainly.

Started by Mandryka, November 28, 2009, 06:02:32 AM

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I have always loved these works, but never found a set of them that I would unreservedly call my favorite. I always find myself wishing they were more poetic here, less virtuosic there, etc. As of now, I feel Angelich comes closest, but I have decided to revisit what I have and see what I come up with.

These are the complete or almost complete sets that I own:

Kempff - mono
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lef├ębure


Quote from: amw on February 18, 2016, 12:27:45 PM
I liked Backhaus a lot, Rittner, the earlier Grimaud one, Katchen... even Afanassiev is interesting in an analytical sort of way iirc. Only one I really disliked was Kempff, which is why I put his name up there.

Yeah, I listened to Kempff's 1950s Brahms tonight and I did not like it at all.

Then I put on Backhaus (Naxos) and liked it a lot more. I felt it was much easier to follow, I could get into his rhythm easily, whereas with Kempff I could not. When I heard Backhaus's previously, I quickly discounted it. But tonight I hear a lot more beauty and clarity in his interpretations. 
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lef├ębure


Had a couple of Brahms albums in my heavy rotation on Qobuz

Kun-Woo Paik - phenomenal, jesus. Up there with the very best interpretations I've ever heard for this music. Maybe it's recency bias for having Block playing Iberia in my heavy rotation with my Iberia comparisons but this is about analogous to that; Paik just has that touch or feel for Brahms. And it's Paik so the tempos are a touch on the slow side but it's never ghoulish, I just can't believe how stunning his interpretations and playing are. I think I actually like this more than his already reference level Schubert disc because his use of pedals isn't quite as lean as on the Schubert, though that in itself makes that disc interesting. Yes, I believe this is the best Kun-Woo Paik album I've heard.

Daniele Pollini op. 119. I strongly agree with Jed Distler comparing this to M. Pollini playing op. 111, "purposeful bleakness." I'm not as fond of Stephen Hough that he calls superior (more balanced). Solid Schoenberg as well but nearly half the disc is Carnaval...