The Melbourne Symphony

Garrick Ohlsson

By Geoffrey Norris  

Released in advance of its visit to the Proms on August 19, these three Melbourne Symphony Orchestra releases, all recorded at live performances in the Melbourne Arts Centre's Hamer Hall, reveal a healthy range of repertoire and an orchestra of versatility to match it. The MSO's association with ABC began back in 2008 with the complete Tchaikovsky symphonies but among the earliest of these fairly recent discs is the two-CD set of the Brahms piano concertos, taken from concerts in November 2012. The sound is attractively natural rather than over-engineered, ample when necessary but also acute enough to pick up the delicacy and poetic restraint of the slow movements. Garrick Ohlsson, familiar in Brahms from his 2010 Hyperion disc of the solo variations, is a pianist who combines finely toned muscle with mollifying sensitivity. His interpretive scope and focus are compellingly applied to both concertos here, with his energy, precision and shrewdly judged weighting in the more robust music of the outer movements tempered by the mellow refinement he brings to Brahms in more meditative mood. 

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