Merry Christmas to my friends at Violinist.com! This 1958 peformance of the Brahms Concerto by Grumiaux, with Van Beinum conducting the Concertgebuow, is far-and-away superior to the Grumiaux/Brahms/New Philharmonia/Davis that has been previously on the market. This is not strictly a CD review, since Philips hasn't seen fit to re-issue this exciting performance.
Why do I think it's better? Anything I say will produce argument I suppose, but Grumiaux's tone is grand and ringing, his mood is regal, his vibrato thrilling, his, er, rhythmic interpretation milks every drop of romanticism from this concerto, so it will not please those who would interpret the concerto in a strict classicist way. Since Brahms was on the line between the classical and romantic era, I would argue that the concerto is open to either approach.
I'm also in love with the Concertgebuow on this old vinyl. This is one recording of the Brahms where the woodwinds are loud, clear, and nice and "reedy." It's arguable who is actually conducting here, Van Beinum or Grumiaux, but they were certainly on the same page that day.
These are large files (MP3s), but have at it; there is no limit on my server. I doubt if Philips will care about this, since they refuse to put it out for sale.
1stMovement (19.8 MB)
2ndMovement (7.9 MB)
3rdMovement (7.1 MB)
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