CD BAM 2012
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Johannes Brahms

Piano Concerto No.1. The grandiose nature of much of Brahms’ orchestral works is likely to have developed through the great effort and pain that went into composing it. True to character Brahms did not in any way try to please the musical taste at the time when he wrote Piano Concerto no.1. It is thought that the evolution of this concerto originally started as a sonata for two pianos which later developed into a symphony and finally, in 1859, reached its present structure as the Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, op.15. Brahms composed and developed this concerto during the final years of Schumann’s illness.  Perhaps the slow movement, in a way, symbolises a requiem for Robert Schumann.

With Brahms as the soloist, the concerto had its public premiere in January 1859, receiving a muted, yet polite, reception. A subsequent performance in Leipzig with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Julius Rietz and again with Brahms as soloist, received a hostile reaction from the audience. A prominent critic had nothing good to say and even criticised Brahms’ performance as a pianist. The concerto is enormously impressive in its symphonic proportions which, evidently, its first audiences found difficult to absorb.  It was really not until Clara Schumann added it to her repertoire that this concerto won wider recognition.

Franz Liszt  

Piano Concerto No.1 Liszt’s dazzling mastery of the piano and his love of orchestral effects inspired two of his most important works-the first and second piano concertos. Liszt first thought of writing a piano concerto when he was nineteen, but he did not actually complete his piano concertos until 1849 when he was at the peak of his career. Both concertos were revised extensively in the late 1850s.

In the dynamic Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat major, Liszt leaves no doubt in the score as to how he wants the concerto to begin. The first expression marks indicating marcato (emphatic), desico (decisive) and tempo giusto (in exact time) result in opening bars that are indeed decisive. It is significant to note that there are no real movements, as such, in the concerto. Although, technically, it has four movements, Liszt ran all the parts together, without a break, thus creating a one-movement work. Considered somewhat unusual at the time, this was not a completely new idea but Liszt was the first to successfully brake with the strict confines of the Classical tradition. Liszt wrote the theme to appear again and again during the concerto, altering it each time, but keeping it sufficiently recognizable to hold the concerto together.


Grandiose Melodies 


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor, op.15
2.   Adagio
3.   Rondo: Allegro non troppo


      Franz Liszt  (1811-1886)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major
   4.  Appassionato
     5.  Quasi Adagio
     6.  Scherzando
     7.  Allegro marziale animato



Total Time 64:56

Oxana Yablonskaya, Piano
Winner of the Liszt Society Grand Prix du Disque

Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky, Conductor

 download digital quality MPEG3 sound sample
Free MP3 sample from Brahms Piano Concerto no.1, track no. 2  

 DDD Digital Recording. Moscow Radio Studio Five,  10/2000
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