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This 1962 recording of Brahms's massive First Concerto was an instant classic when originally released. Pianist Clifford Curzon, Conductor George Szell and the London Symphony Orchestra unite for a Truly Stunning Performance! Clifford Curzon gets to the heart of the music, capturing the high drama of the symphonic opening movement, and his rapt concentration makes a profound effect in the Adagio, famous for his controversially slow tempo. Conductor George Szell is his equal here, conducting with passion and intensity. The way he screws up the tension in the orchestra's opening statement and then, through judicious rubato and a warming of the string tone, makes the second subject come alive is a mini-lesson in great conducting.
"Clifford Curzon hated recording in general, and his relations with Szell were fractious at worst and civil at best. Together, however, they made what many consider the finest recorded performance of the Brahms concerto... From the opening bars, this reading grabs your attention. Szell gets the titanic orchestral introduction to rage like no other. ...Curzon proves a match for the orchestral mass, with a magisterial entry and huge singing tone." - Steve Schwartz, classical.net