Brahms 1 : Rubinstein/Reiner ; Malcuzynski/Rowicki ; Schnabel/Szell
Brahms 2 : Gilels/Reiner ; Rubinstein/Cluytens ; Backhaus/Boehm 1965
1: Curzon/Szell, Serkin/Szell, Backhaus/Boult.
Fleischer may be the liveliest of the 'Szell pianists', but I slightly
prefer the tenser approach of Curzon and Serkin. The Schnabel reading
I like too, but despite a sound tolerance of faulty playing I can't
get over the fact that he botches the double octaves in i (and more).
I don't agree with the criticism that Curzon isn't playing well - he
performs the first ten minutes of the concerto better than anyone I've
heard on record. Granted, in faster passages one can hear a little
stiffness, but it's nothing to get worked up about. His live recording
with Van Beinum is also very good.
2: Fischer/Furtwangler, Solomon/Dobrowen, Schnabel/Boult, Anda/
Fischer's may be in my top 10 of favorite recordings of anything.
Solomon's technique is quite amazing, and it's a very elegant
performance too. Like others, I'm curious about the reason for the
tempo inflation in i, which has been slowed down by about two minutes
over the past 50 years.