Brahms: Piano Conerto No. 1


This live radio performance from April of 1962 stirred up a flurry of controversy. Before the concert, Bernstein felt the need to explain to the audience that his views of the Brahms Piano Concerto in D minor differed radically from the soloist's, the notoriously eccentric Glenn Gould. But Bernstein added that everyone could learn something from this "thinking performer." Bernstein, himself a proponent of slow, measured tempos, took exception to Gould's even pokier pace. So what do we learn from this performance? Merely that Gould misses the boat. His distractingly mannered interpretation is so glacial and bereft of emotion that, instead of sounding stately and majestic, the Brahms concerto emerges like an amorphous blob. Gould, of course, was a brilliant Bach interpreter and a surprisingly good Beethoven player, but his Brahms, although not as dreadful as his Mozart, just doesn't cut it.