This intriguing disc includes a first recording of a live performance on period instruments of the Brahms First Piano Concerto. Hardy Rittner is a persuasive soloist on the Erard Piano from 1854, this may sound a bit clangy at times but otherwise everything seems fine.
The first movement sails along in just over 22 minutes with Rittner playing the notes with an effervescent capability. Comparisons with a more traditionalist approach such as Clifford Curzon (Decca) or Solomon (EMI) may be rather striking but I seem to prefer Rittner's more real life approach. The Adagio is also winningly done as is the barnstorming Finale which comes across as hugely lively.
MD&G also includes a short encore in the shape of the Intermezzo Op. 119 #1 which reveals further fine characteristics of the Erard piano. All in all this is a very exciting disc which offers a different perspective on these works and with a superb recording it is truly highly recommended.
Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech