[126] Johannes Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 2

4 Sep

A quiet opening catches my attention, and the tinkling piano brings a smile to my face.  When an unexpectedly abrupt run and stab up the keys begins, I am fully engaged.

We are 90 seconds into the first Allegro movement of Piano Concerto No. 2.


Here is an orchestra apparently with something to say, a conductor and pianist willing to let them be heard.  It is not so much call and response as point and counterpoint.  The orchestra states its position and the piano rebuts and refutes.

I am sure there is some sort of structure being adhered to, but to my ear the mood and tempo ranges far and wide, seemingly at will.  Again, I find myself intrigued.  It is all so pretty.

And I enjoy the feeling of never knowing what I am going to hear next.

As playful as it is brooding, as light and airy as it is dense and heavy – it almost sounds like schizophrenia might feel.  The switchbacks and sonic reversals ensure that the piece is constantly interesting, with a warm inviting sound making it a pleasure to sit back and let composer and performer take you where they will.

I wish I better understood what I have been listening to for the last month or so.  Brahms has a sound that appeals to me, but as with almost all of the Classical composers to date (certainly all except those behind a handful of pieces I knew well before embarking on the list) I do not have any real context in which to place him, no real objective way of comparing one piece to another, even within my own head.

So I will have to settle for “I like what I like”, without necessarily knowing why.

Next Week: Anthony Braxton – For Alto

Owned before blogging? No. (11 of 126 = 9%)
Heard before blogging? No. (19 of 126 = 15%)
Recommend? Yes. (104 of 126 = 83%)

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