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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 - Curzon

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 - Curzon

Universal (Japan)  UCGD-7025

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1, Franck: Symphonic Variations, Litolff: Scherzo

Clifford Curzon (piano)

London Symphony Orchestra (Brahms)
George Szell (conductor)

London Philharmonic Orchestra (Franck, Litolff)
Sir Adrian Boult (conductor)

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Comment by Don_Angelo - September 29, 2018 (1 of 1)

For the record, I owned this as a Redbook and have been looking for this release for ages. With, perhaps unrealistic expectations towards the improvement a SACD release would bring to a very fine Redbook.

The performance itself is very first-class, be ready to hear a vintage yet timeless performance filled with passion and drama. The commitment of Curzon, Szell and the Orchestra is absolute, and the result is a strong and manly rendition of Brahms. It feels majestic, compelling if not thrilling or exhilarating but always in a satisfying manner and without any excess. And this is perhaps where the wonder lies, the tone feels exactly as it should be and it amounts to what I would not hesitate to label a definitive, if not stellar, performance.

I compared this SACD to the Decca Legend CD incarnation, the latter using a 24-96Khz ‘Super Digital transfer’. The SACD is less filtered, and lets you hear tape hiss and a few artifacts the redbook omits. The wind sections do sound a bit warmer and richer but the SACD improvement is very thin. A-B blind comparison made the SACD recognizable through the artifacts it lets you hear. Also, the strings sections sound less cutting and are better defined. The overall is less dull and more vivid, but again with few noticeable artifacts. I think it is fair to say the improvement is limited because the CD transfer is itself very good.

I would rank it as folows:
- Performance: 5/5
- Sonics: 3.5/5.