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Dave Saemann
Fanfare, July 2012

The collaboration between Daniel Barenboim and Sergiu Celibidache is a true meeting of minds. Both men are spectacularly gifted, and they share a common concern for philosophy.

The opening movement of the First Concerto here is like a late-Impressionist painting. The performance is maestoso in both feeling and tempo. There is almost a halo around the orchestra’s sound. Bass lines are songful and unusually clear, blending into the whole texture. Barenboim plays with charm and charisma. The second movement presents the calm after the storm…Barenboim’s playing here is reminiscent of Beethoven’s late piano sonatas. He maintains an improvisatory quality, at times watching Celibidache like a hawk. In the last movement, the clarity of Barenboim’s playing blends beautifully with the orchestral sound. The performance has a superb play of light and shadow. This is a memorable Brahms First.

With relatively quick tempos from Celibidache, the Second Concerto is a showcase for Barenboim’s virtuosity…Celibidache coaxes beautiful cantabile playing here from the orchestra. The clarity of his beat yields a chamber-music blend. His spirit is very youthful. In the next movement, Barenboim handles the thorniness of the solo writing with dexterity. Celibidache’s accompaniment is hand in glove. The fugato section for orchestra possesses a burnished sound. In the slow movement, the solo cello mixes superbly with the accompanying strings. The woodwinds shine. Nevertheless, the music has a melancholy Viennese quality reminiscent of Johann Strauss, whom Celibidache conducted wonderfully.

The sound engineering is very good…The video direction is generally tactful and revealing…the present DVD is a unique example of great minds at work. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

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2:04:40 AM, 11 October 2015
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