Barry Douglas returns for the highly anticipated third volume in his series devoted to Brahms’s solo piano music, the first two volumes having been met with widespread critical acclaim. Of Vol. 2, International Record Review wrote, ‘this is indeed Brahms playing of the utmost integrity and authority… this cycle looks set to become a benchmark. The selected Intermezzi performed here come from the collections of short piano pieces which Brahms published in 1892 – 93, his last works for piano. A sense of wistful, melancholic reflection pervades these exquisitely crafted masterpieces of Brahms’s late maturity.
…Thanks to the unprocessed and fully natural audio signal, all of the nuances of Schleiermacher's touch are captured, yet there is also a slight background sound that apparently comes from the performance space, not from any defect in the all-digital recording. Listeners may find that this is only a mild distraction and easy to get past once the music takes hold. This important series is recommended for all Feldman aficionados and anyone interested in the sublime expressions of his late period.
Following the iconic series of the complete songs of Schubert and Schumann, Graham Johnson further demonstrates the phenomenal depth of his knowledge in the expert programming of this recital. Each disc in the series represents a different journey through the repertoire, and thus through Brahms’s life. This new volume is sensitively balanced, the opening and closing folksong transcriptions possessing beguiling charm and the five songs of Op 49 being performed in their entirety.
…Playing a piano of 1851 (well tuned but far from the crystalline brilliance of a modern Steinway - think Bösendorfer crossed with a fortepiano) by Johann Baptist Streicher, Hardy Rittner draws powerful, dramatic yet eloquent musical sounds from this veteran instrument. (…) The recording from MDG is a 2+2+2 variant but thanks to the single instrument, there is less sonic confusion and the quality is of amongst the highest that the company has issued.