Battle of the Brahms Piano Concertos

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

We turn to the music of Johannes Brahms for this week’s Showdown and ask a simple question: Which of his two monumental piano concertos do you want to hear?

All morning voters were almost equally split on whether Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 or Piano Concerto No. 2 was their favorite. In the end, Brahms' second concerto won out. We played it today at noon, as performed by pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and the Israel Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta.


Piano Concerto No. 1


Piano Concerto No. 2

Comments [10]

Ivan Strausz MD from Manhattan

Two favorites of mine, and two magnificent concertos, but (IMHO) the second is weightier. I'll be very happy with either.

Dec. 07 2011 11:54 AM
Louis Gerbino from Iowa

The Brahms 2nd was 1 of the first pieces I ever heard on WQXR.I was a preschooler & the station was 1560 AM,yes AM,then.A million thanks for all you do & have done for all of us!

Dec. 07 2011 11:28 AM
PEDRO ARROBA from Brooklyn

Brahms #2 is my favorite piano concerto period!

Dec. 07 2011 11:18 AM
Norman from Rockville Centre

Although the first is more dramatic and more typical Brahms as it first started out as an intended symphony I voted for the intensely lyrical second with the beautiful opening horn motif. But why Buchbinder. A better choice would have been Gilels with Berlin under Jochum.A great classic recording.

Dec. 07 2011 11:00 AM

This is a hard decision. I am so used to hearing the 1st, especially with that dazzling 3rd movement. Let's go for No. 2 shall we, then?

Dec. 07 2011 08:54 AM
Alonso Alegria from Lima Peru

As a teenager I was given the second concerto, which I had never heard. I began to play the first record (it was a 45 rpm box) and could hardly believe my ears. Was that possible? Could a musical phrase be that beautiful? I picked up the needle and started the movement again. Yes indeed. I had heard it right! And that was the day when Brahms became my hero.

Dec. 07 2011 08:52 AM
richard from englewood

A wonderful choice to have. But the 2nd is clearly the favorite. I personally remember when Rubenstein did the 1st, before, and the second after intermission, in one concert!

Dec. 07 2011 08:39 AM
Bernie from UWS

They're both Buchbinder. I'm not sure why WQXR chose him of all pianists to focus on, though the performances are perfectly fine. I personally like Manny Ax's versions.

Nice graphic there on the second video, by the way!

Dec. 07 2011 08:29 AM
barry cohen

Who are the artists performing
the excerpt from the 1st concerto
on the web site ?


Dec. 07 2011 08:14 AM
Sidney Goldman from Baldwin, New York 11510

Both of Brahms piano concerti deserve to be heard. But with the many recordings available with featured piano soloists to be added to the performance and with different orchestras and conductors will contribute to a different sound and interpretation of the same work. In other words there are many sources out in CD recording land of the same Brahms works.

This could be said for all the great compositions of composers. And WQXR certainly makes this possible for its listeners.

Dec. 07 2011 03:49 AM

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