MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Concerto No. 1 [48:45]
Piano Concerto No. 2 [43:56]
Rudolf Buchbinder (piano)
Wiener Philharmoniker/Zubin Mehta
Recorded live at the Musikverein, Vienna, 7-10 March 2015
Picture Format 16:9; PCM Stereo & DTS-HD MA 5.0
Region Code 0
Reviewed in surround
C MAJOR Blu-ray 733604 [96 mins]

This is a marvellous disc, showcasing everybody doing what they do at their best. The booklet says that Buchbinder and Mehta had worked together on the Brahms concertos in Israel, and that they wanted to perform both concertos together in a single evening with Vienna Philharmonic. There are few pianists who could achieve that feat of stamina, but Buchbinder does so triumphantly, and repeatedly shows himself to be a pianist of uncommon muscularity who is right inside these concertos.

That muscularity is most obviously on display in the first concerto (which is here played after the second). He takes on Brahms’ craggy lines like a gladiator in an arena, but without any of the vulgarity that can characterise some of his rivals. Instead, he has the musical line at the front of his vision at all times, and it flows through him, informing all of his musical decisions. He pours balm at his first entrance, for example, but this line keeps flowing through the opening turbulence and then into the chordal second subject which moves along with unfussy beauty. The great Adagio seems to hang still in the air, while he drives the Rondo with a cracking head of steam.

That same sense of power is there in the second concerto, particularly in its scherzo, but the thing that really marks it out is the sense of union between soloist and orchestra. Nobody plays Brahms like the Vienna Philharmonic, and it’s a joy to hear them playing these concertos with appropriate symphonic scale, and yet with a sense of chamber music intimacy, too. Buchbinder himself says that the soloist repeatedly interacts with one orchestral individual in the second concerto, and that’s not just the opening horn soloist, or the cello in the Andante. That sense of give-and-take, of question-and-answer, makes this a really rather special partnership, and it isn’t just in the opening that soloist and orchestra sound as though they’re finishing one another’s sentences.

Mehta directs these works with great skill, and it helps that he is conducting an orchestra of professors. The sound is so brilliantly honed that it’s like a diamond which reflects different facets with new shards of light. It helps, too, that the surround sound is brilliantly captured by the Unitel engineers, the horns sounding from right in the midst of the brass section, for example, and the gloriously rich basses underpinning the lot. The camera work is also very intelligent, and incredibly multi-faceted, a new shot and visual line seeming to appear every so often by surprise. The BD picture quality is outstanding.

The only weak link is the first movement of the first concerto, where the orchestra seems to lumber and Mehta doesn’t quite get to the heart of the sense of momentum that the movement deserves. However, they more than redeem themselves with string playing of Elysian bliss at the start of the Adagio. There are surprisingly few couplings of both Brahms concertos on DVD/BD, and this one takes its place towards the top if that’s what you want. It’s certainly preferable to the recent Cleveland package. There are no extras, save some trailers for other Vienna/Buchbinder releases.

Simon Thompson



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus