To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Stephen Hough's interpretations can sometimes be a little wayward, but not here. These performances breathe the spirit of both the young and the older Brahms, and form a beautifully balanced pair. It goes without saying that the execution of these challenging works is impeccable.
First off: a disclaimer. Based on previous listening experience I am decidedly not a fan of the soloist. Also, it's been well over a month now since I auditioned these recordings and since I made no notes and have no intention of ever listening to these performances again, my remarks will ne very general and short. I ordered this set based on positive reviews posted on the Amazon websites. I had high hopes, soon to be dashed. The tiger, I guess, truly does not change his stripes. Hough here too often indulges in his usual habit of idiosyncratic embellishment: little all-too-cute touches of individual phrasing that serve annoyingly to distract from the music and deflect attention towards the performer. "Hey, look here; it's me!" In a world of first-rate recorded performances of the Brahms piano concertos (Fleisher/Szell; Serkin/Szell/Ormandy; Katchen/Monteux; Freire/ Chailly; Rubinstein/Reiner/Krips/Munch; and last, but by no means least, the masterful Cliburn/Reiner/Leinsdorf/Kondrashin)*, who needs this? (*Yes, I know - Cliburn, in his performances, also adds individual touches in phrasing here and there, but they are always tasteful and - even more importantly - don't work against the music, but enhance it. They never fail to delight me and elicit a smile and a nod of acknowledgement from me however often I listen to his performances. Totally subjective evaluation, I know - but there it is. Simply glorious old-fashioned music making that will never be out of style - at least not with me.)
I had Hough's original recordings of these concertos and decided to buy the new ones when I saw them on amazon. They are absolutely superb. The piano is well placed with the orchestra and is able to balance and cut through heavy orchestral texture with ease. I am a great Hough fan and had the pleasure of meeting him over a year ago. I now have about 6 different recordings of these concertos and Hough's is probably my favourite.
wonderful new recordings of the Brahms concerti. Stephen Hough remains one of my favorite pianists on the international stage. He plays everything so well that I believe he could play and record anything even Bach !