BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2 / TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Rubinstein) (1929, 1932)
Arthur Rubinstein’s career extended well into his eighties, with his final recital taking place in London’s Wigmore Hall in June 1976 at the age of 87. In the late 1920s Rubinstein’s playing contained a joie de vivre that was missing from his later more serious and occasionally stolid recordings. This 1929 recording of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is notable for Rubinstein’s overall fleetness and light-footed approach. The result is a refreshing and exciting reading. Rubinstein’s 1932 recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is similarly characterised by a lack of weightiness and a freshness of approach that makes this reading a delight to hear. At the beginning, when Rubinstein plays the first statement of the theme in octaves, how beautifully and lyrically he shapes the phrases, and he keeps the underlying rhythm going in the following short cadenza so that it sounds an integral part of the movement.
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