ARTEK Recordings

Reviews of CD 5

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Osorio - Brahms Piano Concerto

1. American Record Guide

Brahms: Piano Sonata 3; Fantasies, op 116; Pieces, op 119

Jorge Federico OsorioóArtek 5 (Allegro) 70 minutes


I was very impressed with Osorioís earlier Brahms recording, which included the Handel Variations and the Ballades. I described it (J/A 1996) as first-rate in every way and declared the Mexican-born pianist one I would enjoy hearing again.

  Well, hereís my chance, and Iím not a bit disappointed. Right from the beginning of the sonata, where he snaps off the dotted rhythms, it is clear he has total command of the situation; for confirmation listen to the panache of III. The slower II and IV show a wonderful sensitivity to tone color and dynamics. It takes a lot of sheer strength to perform this sonata well, and Osorio does.

  Even more impressive are the 11 late piano works. In weaker hands these pieces can seem nearly incomprehensible; the beauties have to be sought in the fragmented lines and harmonies. Some are quite difficult technically, and Osorio handles them with aplomb. The more romantic pieces, like the E-major Intermezzo from Opus 116 or the B-minor Intermezzo from Opus 119, are no less enjoyable; they are delicate and simply gorgeous. Also, Iíve never heard the alto melody in the C-major Intermezzo brought out more clearly or naturally. The only drawback to the late works is that the piano sound is more distant than in the sonata and the treble is muted.

  Nonetheless, a very fine record, one that makes us glad there was once a Brahms. ALTHOUSE

2. Chicago Tribune, Arts & Entertainment

3. BBC Music Magazine


Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor; Fantasies, Op. 116; Klavierstucke, Op. 119

Jorge Federico Osorio (piano)

The playing in the seven pieces of Op. 116 and four of Op. 119 is quite marvelous. There has been much nonsense written about Brahmsís late piano music, yet is surprising how few pianists find its wavelength; they often squeeze it too much and lose a sense of poise in these precariously balanced miniatures. All the late pieces have been recorded on one disc by the remarkable Helene Grimaud (Erato), who does, indeed, probe a good deal and arguably finds more in the music than Brahms would have imagined. Osorio is much simpler and equally satisfying in his way, for he understands the need for intimacy. In the most elusive of all Brahmsís Intermezzi, the third piece of Op. 119, he would be perfect if only he were just a shade faster and more carefree Ė the nearest to my ideal is Clifford Curzon, still available on Decca.

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