Hardy Rittner – Johannes Brahms: Early Piano Works Vol.2 (2008) {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

Johannes Brahms – Hardy Rittner – Early Piano Works Vol.2
SACD ISO (2.0/MCH): 3,51 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 0,99 GB | Full Artwork
Label/Cat#: MDG “Scene” # 904 1538-6 | Country/Year: Germany 2008 | 3% Recovery Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Romantic, Piano

Hardy Rittner seemed on top of his game both technically and interpretively in his first volume of Brahms’ early piano works, but for some reason he seems less assured and less interpretively attuned to Brahms’ music in this, his second volume. Performing the north German composer’s C major and F minor sonatas, Rittner does not bring out of the piano the massive sonorities the music’s out-sized chords require. This may be due in part to his choice of instrument. On the first volume, Rittner performed on a rich-toned 1851 Johann Baptist Streicher piano, but here he’s playing an 1850 Bösendorfer lacking both depth and resonance. As he did in the previous disc, Rittner does well with the poetic side of Brahms’ nature and his account of the F minor Sonata’s Andante espressivo is thoroughly persuasive. But when he needs to pour on the power as in the same sonata’s Finale, Rittner and his Bösendorfer can’t supply what’s wanted. Though Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm’s super audio sound is clear and present, this disc fails to live up to the promise of its earlier sibling.
~ Review by James Leonard allmusicguide

This second volume pairs the first and third sonatas, so now we have the complete sonatas in period performances. Instead of the Johann Baptist Streicher, an 1849/50 Bösendorfer is employed and gives a certain extra element of brightness, weight and tonal depth without sacrificing anything of the clarity that period instruments tend to bring to the proceedings.

It is often said that Brahms was late in writing a symphony but Rittner’s playing shows that to be false; these works are symphonic in scope and scale – all that was left was for Brahms to produce an orchestration. Apart from capturing the grand sweep of the phrases and the structure of the compositions, Rittner also delivers on the poetry of the music. No detail escapes his attention but neither does it interrupt the musical narrative. The Scherzo movements of each sonata have a nice Viennese lilt to them and the slower movements a tender eloquence. The Finale’s are dazzling in their virtuosity yet Rittner’s playing is fully at the service of the music, not his self-aggrandisement.

The recording from MDG, again a 2+2+2 production, is as clear and rounded as that in volume 1.

Very highly recommended and one looks forward to future volumes. ~SA-CD.net

SACD Info:
Johannes Brahms – Hardy Rittner – Early Piano Works Vol.2
Label: MDG
Series: Scene
Catalog#: 904 1538-6
Format: Hybrid-SACD, Album, Stereo, Multichannel
Country: Germany
Released: 2008
Genre: Classical

01 Sonata No. 1 op. 1 in C major – Allegro 10:30.32
02 Sonata No. 1 op. 1 in C major – Andante 05:18.77
03 Sonata No. 1 op. 1 in C major – Scherzo. Allegro molto e con fuoco 05:41.33
04 Sonata No. 1 op. 1 in C major – Finale. Allegro con fuoco 07:01.93
05 Sonata No. 3 op. 5 in F minor – Allegro maestoso 10:47.12
06 Sonata No. 3 op. 5 in F minor – Andante espressivo 12:11.79
07 Sonata No. 3 op. 5 in F minor – Scherzo. Allegro energico 04:57.33
08 Sonata No. 3 op. 5 in F minor – Intermezzo. Andante molto 03:26.00
09 Sonata No. 3 op. 5 in F minor – Finale. Allegro moderato ma rubato 07:57.08