Riccardo Chailly / Gewandhaus Orchestra
Nelson Freire, pianist
I love the Claudio Arrau / Bernard Haitink recording of these phenomonal works for piano + orcehstra, but Freire / Chailly create such a precise and irridescent rendition (recorded live, too) that it is often acclaimed as one of the greatest recordings of Brahms' Concertos of all time.
The Second Piano Concerto is the product of Brahms' more mature years and one of the most powerfully moving pieces of music you will ever hear, but his First was written before he was 30, a near 22 year gap between the two works.
"... an ardent live version of these works with the legendary Brasilian Nelson Freire and the even more legendary 250 year old central european Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig (Mendelsohn was one of its first Kapellmeisters!) under the baton of its new conductor Riccardo Chailly: an invaluable coupling.
This is pure, vintage Brahms, especially in the hands of Freire and Chailly. The transparency of Freire's performance along with Chailly evoking the response from the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, especially with the dark, earthy sound of the strings, makes this performance so superlative that it seems that one is hearing it for the first time."