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Nalen Anthoni
Gramophone, March 2002

"This 1938 recording of Brahms' First Concerto speaks of many things, not least Schnabel's refusal to smooth out the writing... even in the elegiac slow movement. If Szell emphasises stillness here, Schnabel emphasises contour... Come the finale, and the shaping remains but at a faster speed. Adagio or allegro, the effect is the same; and whatever the work, listeners are always dragged into a uniquely Schnabelian vortex."



Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, December 2001

"Here, in the first of two records devoted to the Brahms Piano Concertos, is Schnabel in all his idiosyncrasy and glory. If one word can define his quality it is 'eloquent', a word that none the less invites qualification. Haunting and robust, his playing was rarely without its rough edges and an impulsiveness - a rushing of fences - that could provoke those with neater expectations...

Freedom, a term less precise or limiting that rubato and a quality Schnabel prized, as well as eloquence, come to mind in the central elegy. Everything emerges with a vitality that has nothing to do with stale custom or convention, and the finale, for all its raggedness, s irascible pell-mell of events, hurtles forward like a river in full flow.

George Szell (who later showed himself a superb collaborator with Serkin, Curzon and Fleisher in this Concerto) follows his soloist's flight with all the assurance of a like-minded spirit, and even when ensemble becomes a hit or miss affair, the essential line and authority are never lost. Schnabel's encores, so to speak, show him no less rich and untamed, and the producer Mark Obert-Thorn tells of his struggle to make the sub-standard sound in the concerto more presentable. The 1947 solos emerge in a better light. This an invaluable issue and Naxos's release of the Second Concerto is eagerly awaited."



Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, November 2001

"Here, in the first of two records devoted to the Brahms Piano Concertos, is Schnabel in all his idiosyncrasy and glory. If one word can define his quality it is 'eloquent', a word that none the less invites qualification. Haunting and robust, his playing was rarely without its rough edges and an impulsiveness - a rushing of fences - that could provoke those with neater expectations...

Freedom, a term less precise or limiting that rubato and a quality Schnabel prized, as well as eloquence, come to mind in the central elegy. Everything emerges with a vitality that has nothing to do with stale custom or convention, and the finale, for all its raggedness, s irascible pell-mell of events, hurtles forward like a river in full flow.

George Szell (who later showed himself a superb collaborator with Serkin, Curzon and Fleisher in this Concerto) follows his soloist's flight with all the assurance of a like-minded spirit, and even when ensemble becomes a hit or miss affair, the essential line and authority are never lost. Schnabel's encores, so to speak, show him no less rich and untamed, and the producer Mark Obert-Thorn tells of his struggle to make the sub-standard sound in the concerto more presentable. The 1947 solos emerge in a better light. This an invaluable issue and Naxos's release of the Second Concerto is eagerly awaited."






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4:28:15 PM, 19 April 2014
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