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https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/arts/music/piano-brahms-andras-schiff.html

Andras Schiff discusses his recent recording of the two Brahms concerti on a Bluthner built in Brahms' day. But I wished he had explained more why he likes this piano so much for these pieces. He did mention that the slightly narrower keys and lighter action make it easier to play. He also doesn't talk at all about whether the piano was rebuilt(I assume it was) and how historically accurate the rebuilding was.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/06/21 04:23 PM.
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I've heard the finale of his No.2 on the radio.

The problem isn't the 1859 Blüthner piano, which sounds much more hefty and Germanic than the Érards and Pleyels of the 1840s that we're used to hearing in Chopin (of which there are numerous recordings from well-known virtuosi). It's Schiff's playing.

If you like your (youngish) Brahms played daintily, Schiff is for you. But the Brahms who wrote those concertos was a lion at his peak, keen to show off his prowess to the ladies, not an effeminate dandy. And he didn't have a bushy beard then.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I read a bit and watched an interview about this album. I then listened to some of it yesterday. I only listened to part of movement 1 for concerto 1 & 2. Probably 10-15 minutes each.

In many places I quite enjoy the sound from the ensemble. It's different but also quite beautiful. The piano sound has its moments but I struggled to make sense of a lot of it. I sometimes had trouble separating the piano acoustics from Schiff's interpretive decisions. In short, I didn't care for it much.

I wish he spent some time playing solo works on this piano as an appetizer. That could have made a case for this quite substantial project which is kind of a head-scratcher for me. I will try to listen to the rest and see if my opinion changes.

A quote from Schiff in this review:

Quote
"With the present recording we have tried to recreate and restore the works, to cleanse and detoxify the music”, writes András Schiff in the liner notes for his new Brahms disc. “To liberate it from the burden of the – often questionable – trademarks of performing tradition.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/jun/03/brahms-piano-concertos-nos-1-2-schiff-oae-review

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Brahms played his 1st concerto with 1) Hannover orchestra, 2) Gewandhaus Leipzig, 3) Hamburg Philharmonic , his 2nd concerto 1) Budapest Philharmonic, and many many more orchestras .These were no mere chamber-ensembles, and Brahms' intention was not to write delicate music, but in the first may be heroic and in the second may be symphonic music. A downscaling of forces is really something of a postmodern ism, nothing to do with the the so often misinterpreted 'original' thoughts by the composer. Let's all interprete and be criticised for it, and honour the composers, but please no budgetting and calling it 'pure' or 'ur' or 'authentic' (barf, excuse me) but give it the full Monty.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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