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Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, June 2010

Superb Brahms Second

The Spanish pianist Joaquín Achúcarro made his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra 50 years ago after winning the short-lived Royal Liverpool Philharmonic International Competition in 1959…all three sections of both versions [of the Brahms concerto (London) and a solo recital (Madrid)] benefit from the masterly hand of director Robin Lough who, unlike many of his peers, knows how to let the music speak for itself without the need for frantic cuts and cross-fades. Jerwood Hall’s facility for aerial shots and extreme close-ups is used with discretion. It is beautifully lit and the musicians, uniformly in smart casual black, under Sir Colin’s laid-back guidance, play their hearts out for a magnificent reading of the concerto. The documentary includes interviews with three of Achúcarro’s admirers, Plácido Domingo, Simon Rattle and Zubin Mehta…The short recital filmed in the Prado captures Achúcarro at his intimate best, the mellow Op 117 being particularly memorable.

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