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Oh, That Brahms

23 JAN 12 JASON SERINUS

I still recall the affirmation of the woman seated behind me at the end of a live Brahms recital close to 35 years ago. "Oh, that Brahms!" she sighed, with a tone of appreciation and thanksgiving that encapsulated the feelings of several thousand people in the audience. You too will likely sigh as you listen to pianist Horatio Gutierrez, Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform the heavenly third movement Andante of Brahms' great Piano Concerto No. 2, available on the Telarc release Everybody's Brahms.

It's the music of a man who unfailingly channeled the sadness, torments, and beauties of life into his unforgettable melodies. What's especially wonderful is that the Second Piano Concerto, as well as the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Intermezzo in A minor and Ballade in G minor from Brahms' Six Pieces, Op. 118, and the Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn for Orchestra all appear on Everybody's Brahms. Taken as a whole, the disc gives a wonderful picture of Brahms as the master of the heart's call.

You'll hear the same soul-tugging outpouring at the start of the Haydn Variations. The majesty and warmth that Brahms brings to the opening theme are unmistakably his own. That same breadth of spirit opens the First Piano Concerto, and cleanses the soul with tears at the start of the second movement Adagio. In between come larger dramatic statements, all genuine to the core. The wonderful pieces from Op. 118 are the final kiss.