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  MDG -
  904 1538-6
  Brahms: Complete Piano Music Vol. 2 (Early Piano Works) - Hardy Rittner
  Brahms: Piano Sonatas Op. 1 & 5

Hardy Rittner (piano)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Site review by Polly Nomial January 7, 2009
Performance:   Sonics:  
As in Brahms: Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 (Early Piano Works) - Hardy Rittner, Rittner plays with inspiration.

This second volume pairs the first and third sonatas, so now we have the complete sonatas in period performances. Instead of the Johann Baptist Streicher, an 1849/50 Bösendorfer is employed and gives a certain extra element of brightness, weight and tonal depth without sacrificing anything of the clarity that period instruments tend to bring to the proceedings.

It is often said that Brahms was late in writing a symphony but Rittner's playing shows that to be false; these works are symphonic in scope and scale - all that was left was for Brahms to produce an orchestration. Apart from capturing the grand sweep of the phrases and the structure of the compositions, Rittner also delivers on the poetry of the music. No detail escapes his attention but neither does it interrupt the musical narrative. The Scherzo movements of each sonata have a nice Viennese lilt to them and the slower movements a tender eloquence. The Finale's are dazzling in their virtuosity yet Rittner's playing is fully at the service of the music, not his self-aggrandisement.

The recording from MDG, again a 2+2+2 production, is as clear and rounded as that in volume 1.

Very highly recommended and one looks forward to future volumes.

Copyright © 2009 John Broggio and

Works: 2  

Johannes Brahms - Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 1
Johannes Brahms - Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5