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Garnet Ungar plays Brahms -
reviewed by JOHN BELL YOUNG

'... a performance that is at once radiant, powerful and precise.'

Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2; Beethoven: Symphony No 8. (c) 2001 University of Evansville


In the forty years that have flown by since Sviatoslav Richter made his newsworthy début at Carnegie Hall in the Brahms B flat concerto, there have been few recordings, save his own with Erich Leinsdorf at the helm of the Chicago Symphony, that have matched that stellar performance. Geza Anda, Alfred Brendel and Friedrich Wuhrer each churned out exemplary readings, which moved rapidly to the top of any collector's must-have list. But even these, as superb as they are, have never quite equaled the breathtaking, even visceral intensity and ardent machismo that Richter brought to the work. No one has. That is, until now [listen].

In this privately issued recording of a live performance, underwritten by the University of Evansville in Indiana, USA, Garnet Ungar, a 20-something pianist virtually unknown in the commercial musical mainstream, delivers a performance that is at once radiant, powerful and precise. That this remarkable disc, which does not even have the benefit of an independent label, would have ended up on my doorstep, without so much as a press release or a word of explanation, is even more astonishing, Indeed, those unfamiliar with the methodologies of the fourth estate might be surprised to learn that most publications will not print reviews of recordings that do not sport the benefit of a bona fide label.

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Copyright © 8 December 2001 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA







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