Johannes Brahms – Artur Rubinstein / CSO, Fritz Reiner – Piano concerto No. 1 (2005, 1955) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Johannes Brahms – Piano concerto No. 1
Artur Rubinstein, piano / Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Fritz Reiner
SACD ISO (2.0): 765 MB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 840 MB | Artwork | 5% Recovery Info
Label/Cat#: RCA Red Seal “Living Stereo” # 82876-66378-2 RE1 | Country/Year: US 2005, 1955
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic

Amazon reviews:
I cannot praise this recording highly enough.
Brahm’s First Piano Concerto is my favorite piece of music, period, & I have dozens upon dozens of recordings. This is the best.
The Soundmirror team who re-mastered this recording for SACD have performed nothing short of a sonic miracle. It’s the equivalent of a musical time machine…the recording sounding as fresh & alive as the day it was recorded. This is the closest that I have ever come to putting on a recording & then being transported to a live concert & this concert features 2 of the great geniuses of 20th Century musical performance, Rubinstein & Fritz Reiner. For a recording over 50 years old, the quality of performance & execution is just astonishing.
Rubinstein is known as a Chopin interpretor, but I think he’s even better with Brahms, closer to the composer’s inspiration & spirit. Reiner seems to relish this music. The rapport between both artists (captured here) serves Brahms as no other recording has quite managed to do. I was floored when I came across this. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
This is the best deal in music. The Living Stereo SACD series comprises the best that music has to offer.
~ by C. Wynn

The Brahms D minor Concerto is a difficult work to pull off successfully: the piano part is ungrateful, & often drowned out by an overorchestrated accompaniment. Also, many pianists–most notably Glenn Gould–tend to drag the tempos beyond all reason. Rubinstein, who was 10 years old when Brahms died, would never have considered such a nonsensical approach. The Concerto was written early in Brahms career, & was the work of a passionate young man. In essence, Brahms without the beard.
This is the 1st stereo recording, taped in 1954, to be made of this Concerto. (The stereo version, however, was not released until 1977). It says something for the original producer, RCA’s legendary Jack Pfeiffer, that with SACD remastering the sound holds up very well. The performance is excellent also, with superb accompaniment from Reiner, the very antithesis of the dragged out, boring approach that has recently tested concert audiences’ endurance. Although over a half century old, this is still one of the very few “essential” recordings for any Brahms collection, along with the Fleischer/Szell & Serkin/Szell performances.
It would have been nice if RCA included some of the solo Brahms pieces Rubinstein recorded in 1959 (they were also part of the Living Stereo series), as this disc is not well filled. But for those who prefer quality over quantity, this disc is a must.
~ by Hank Drake VINE™ VOICE

Allmusic review:
Artur Rubinstein’s elegant 1954 recording of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor with Fritz Reiner & the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a bona fide classic from the earliest days of stereo; this sumptuous album has been available for decades & has earned a permanent place in RCA’s catalog. It reappears here in the SACD format & sounds cleaner & more detailed than ever before; yet the advanced technology only goes so far & this disc may disappoint audiophiles. Because RCA has carefully preserved its Living Stereo master tapes, it is relatively easy to reproduce them through DSD & render a terrific ADD version. However, the original 2-channel tracks have not been altered for multichannel systems, so the sound comes only from the front channels on the left & right. In essence, this is glorified stereo with remarkable presence — one feels quite close to Rubinstein, & the CSO seems only feet away — but there is no additional surround sound depth. For the sake of authenticity, this is just as well, & Rubinstein & Reiner at least are not misrepresented through creative engineering. One may regret, however, that this SACD has no bonus tracks & find that it offers less value than other titles in the line.

SACD Info:

Johannes Brahms – Piano concerto No. 1

Artur Rubinstein, piano / Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Fritz Reiner

Label: RCA Red Seal
Series: Living Stereo
Catalog#: 82876-66378-2 RE1
Format: CD, Album, ReIssue, Stereo Only
Country: US
Released: 2005, 1955
Genre: Classical
Style: Romantic


1 Maestoso 21:40
2 Adagio 13:18
3 Rondo: Allegro Non Troppo 11:22

Written: 1854-1858
Date of Recording: 1954
Venue: Live Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Length: 46 Minutes 20 Secs.

Apparently the first-ever release of this 1950s classic in RCA’s Living Stereo CD (and now SACD) reissue series, this collaboration between Artur Rubenstein and Fritz Reiner has all of the fire AND sparkle demanded by the more angst-ridden of Brahms’ two piano concerti. Here and there the recording shows its age, but the magnificence of the music-making here transcends any minor sonic limitations.