Brahms Late Piano Works

Started by Todd, March 25, 2023, 04:40:05 AM

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Todd

As per usual, after scientifically rigorous listening, I can present the definitive list of late Brahms recordings:

Top Tier
Volodos
Paik
Angelich
Lupu
Backhaus
Klien
Kovacevich
Gourari


Second Tier
Ohlsson
Couteau
Hough
Gieseking
Grimaud
Kempff II
Katchen
Korevaar


Third Tier
Osorio
Douglas
Vitaud
Kempff I
Paul Lewis
Cartier-Bresson
Ehlen
Bonatta


Fourth Tier
Oppitz
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

George

#41
Quote from: Todd on April 18, 2023, 03:18:23 AMAs per usual, after scientifically rigorous listening, I can present the definitive list of late Brahms recordings:

Top Tier
Volodos
Paik
Angelich
Lupu
Backhaus
Klien
Kovacevich
Gourari
. . .

Thanks for sharing this, Todd. Have you heard Alexeev or Rudy's late Brahms on EMI? I'm curious how you'd rate them. 
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Brian

I just relistened to Volodos. Between this album and the Mompou, Volodos is clearly interested in music where the spaces in between notes are as important and telling as the notes themselves. The silence on a Volodos album really tells, in a way it doesn't always for others (this might be a trick of the rather big, in-your-face engineering also) (or maybe the engineering is normal and I turned the volume way up). He has an affinity for pieces where he can almost be like Ahmad Jamal or Miles Davis, making you hyper-aware of the space that each note fills up. It helps that this is also music about transience, about how everything that is will not be. It's sort of a total musical expression of ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

On another note, when I was listening in perfect stillness to some of the most musica callada-like moments of the Brahms recital, I could hear every press of the pedals.

I think other artists more closely hit the emotions I like to feel in Brahms, but this is definitely a special and one-of-a-kind achievement. And it's annoying that he had 25 minutes of space left on the CD and decided not to record more. The booklet includes an interview, but they don't ask why.

betterthanfine

Todd, I wonder if you'd consider adding Richard Goode's recording of opus 76, 116 and 119 to this survey? I'm curious to read your thoughts on that!

Elk

#44
Thanks So much for your survey, Todd. I have listened to many, but not nearly all of the recordings you have and agree mostly with your comments. You have noted more interpretations for me to sample and, perhaps, love.

If you have the opportunity, I would listen to Kovacevich's earlier Philip's recordings and Dimitri Alexeev's on EMI, both from the 70's. They rank highly for me, like the Volodos.

The Rudy recordings are not among my favourites. I would have to return to them to give you a reason why. It's been too long since I did a comparison.

Mandryka

#45
Quote from: Elk on April 19, 2023, 04:17:58 AMIf you have the opportunity, I would listen to Kovacevich's earlier Philip's recordings and Dimitri Alexeev's on EMI, both from the 70's. They rank highly for me, like the Volodos.




Has the Kovacevich ever been transferred from LP? I'm guessing you mean these

https://www.discogs.com/master/1305729-Brahms-Stephen-Bishop-Kovacevich-Handel-Variationen-4-Klavierst%C3%BCcke-Op-119-3-Intermezzi-Op117

https://www.discogs.com/release/6111452-Stephen-Bishop-Kovacevich-Brahms
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen


Mandryka

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Elk

#48
I can't be sure when the earlier recording was made. Searching on an iPhone is not ideal, but it was analogue and not digital I believe. I have both. I'll listen to each again to be sure.

Elk

So, in a direct comparison of the digital LP release and the CD compilation, op. 118 is the same, confirmed by:
https://www.classicalsource.com/cd/stephen-kovacevich-the-complete-philips-recordings-bartok-beethoven-brahms-mozart-decca/

Spotted Horses

#50
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Mandryka

#51
Quote from: Elk on April 19, 2023, 04:17:58 AMThanks So much for your survey, Todd. I have listened to many, but not nearly all of the recordings you have and agree mostly with your comments. You have noted more interpretations for me to sample and, perhaps, love.

If you have the opportunity, I would listen to Kovacevich's earlier Philip's recordings and Dimitri Alexeev's on EMI, both from the 70's. They rank highly for me, like the Volodos.

The Rudy recordings are not among my favourites. I would have to return to them to give you a reason why. It's been too long since I did a comparison.

I'm only really just learning what an interesting pianist Alexeev is - especially in the earlier recordings.  Another good Brahms one I've found just recently is Austbø's - beautiful counterpoint.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Holden

This thread brought me back to Radu Lupu and what a revelation his Brahms is. I have his Decca Complete Recordings box set and to be honest, never gave the Brahms much thought (or listening time). I was more interested in his LvB, Schubert and Schumann. This is to my detriment as the Brahms is just sublime so thank you Todd for getting me to listen to it properly.
Cheers

Holden

Spotted Horses

#53
I'm reminded that, even as a Brahms Fanatic, I don't have a servicable complete set of solo piano music. (I have Oppitz, which as Todd notes, is plagued by klangy, unpleasant audio.) I was thinking Barry Douglas would be an option, but then I noticed that in his Chandos set he breaks up sets (Op. 116, 117, 118, etc) and distributes the individual pieces over different volumes. That would be just too exasperating to deal with (and might make one wonder about his mental faculties).

Is there another good option besides Katchen?
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

amw

Andreas Boyde, Jonathan Plowright, Peter Rösel, Hardy Rittner, possibly Marie-Josèphe Jude. I am not entirely sure how ~complete any of these are or whether they're available in box set format or etc. I have not heard Geoffroy Couteau or Martin Jones or Idil Biret.

Garrick Ohlsson is almost complete and probably will eventually be completed.

Spotted Horses

#55
Quote from: amw on April 21, 2023, 12:20:41 AMAndreas Boyde, Jonathan Plowright, Peter Rösel, Hardy Rittner, possibly Marie-Josèphe Jude. I am not entirely sure how ~complete any of these are or whether they're available in box set format or etc. I have not heard Geoffroy Couteau or Martin Jones or Idil Biret.

Garrick Ohlsson is almost complete and probably will eventually be completed.

I listened to samples of Couteau and found them very attractive. The very good price of the lossless download on qobuz pushed me over the edge. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Todd

Quote from: George on April 18, 2023, 11:42:56 AMHave you heard Alexeev or Rudy's late Brahms on EMI? I'm curious how you'd rate them.

I have not, but I will given them a shot.  Rudy seems like something I should try fairly soon.


Quote from: betterthanfine on April 18, 2023, 02:31:23 PMTodd, I wonder if you'd consider adding Richard Goode's recording of opus 76, 116 and 119 to this survey?

I dislike Goode generally, so it is not a priority for me.  I'll probably get around to it at some point.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Todd

Quote from: amw on April 21, 2023, 12:20:41 AMGarrick Ohlsson is almost complete and probably will eventually be completed.

When complete, based on the one disc cited herein, I would not be surprised if it is the one complete set to own.  That written, Rösel should be quite fine as well.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Hobby

Many years ago I bought Stefan Vladar's recording of opp 116-119. It was highly rated at the time - either Penguin Guide or Gramophone. I still enjoy it and wonder if you've listened to it Todd? How would you rate it?

AnotherSpin

Quote from: Todd on April 18, 2023, 03:18:23 AMAs per usual, after scientifically rigorous listening, I can present the definitive list of late Brahms recordings:

[...]


What is scientifically rigorous listening? You did some measurements or what?