Bashkirov’s unreleased first-prize Brahms concerto

Bashkirov’s unreleased first-prize Brahms concerto


norman lebrecht

March 20, 2021

This is the late lamented Dmitry Bashkirov playing the second Brahms concerto at the Marguerite Long Piano Competition in 1955, where he won first prize.

The orchestra is variable and Bashkirov has a few fingerslips, but the intensity of his playing is arresting.



  • sam.smith says:

    In today’s world of polished yet faceless competition performances, I wonder if this would make the prize list? If not, then more’s the pity – for all the ‘fingerslips’ this is an enthralling performance.

  • Amos says:

    “The orchestra is variable”. Sorry, but the Principal Horn should have stuck to his career as a sommelier.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s a way of horn playing peculiar to the French. The German style has the round, vibrato-less tone. The French style has the idea of a colouristic effect, not a sustained body. And with French music that is OK.

      • Amos says:

        John, I readily admit I know nothing about an acceptable way to play the horn for French pieces. That said, to my untrained ear, the opening sounded like someone petrified of playing the opening solo of an iconic piece of music. I don’t recall ever hearing it played with such shaky intonation and rhythm.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Indeed briljant, very expressive.

    Almost as good as the definite performance / recording:

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Great pianist. Father-in-law of Daniel Barenboim

  • esfir ross says:

    First prize wasn’t awarded that year. DB got second prize

  • Nice photo on the video.

  • Edgar Self says:

    The solo horn is perfectly competent but just plays with vibrato, still heard in some French and Russian orchestras of the day. Some years ago I heard a visiting Russian orchestra whose white-haired principal horn did the same, an old-fashioned touch.

    Did anyone catch the conductor’s name in the opening radio announcement?

    Bashkirov brings out, or is closely enough recorded to hear, details I miss in other performances. Everyone will have a favorite. Among mine are Marc-Andre Hamelin, Weissenberg, Hans Richter-Haaser, Solomon, R. Serkin, Rubinstein, Horowitz, Elly Ney/Max Fiedler/BPO, and Edwin Fischer/Furtwaengler.

    lA friend insisted the adagio is based, not on “Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer”, but “Emma Leisner wird mein Schlummer”, after the famous singer.

    • Amos says:

      First, I’ve never heard vibrato played on the horn that sounds as though the player was suffering from Parkinson’s of the lip. Second, any list of recommended performances of the Brahms B-flat major concerto which doesn’t include Schnabel/Serkin/Fleisher explains somewhat for me your finding the horn player’s performance idiomatic.

    • Marcellus says:

      I believe the announcer said that Georges Tzipine is the conductor.

    • clarrieu says:

      Conductor is Georges Tzipine, who also (I believe) taught conducting at the Paris Conservatoire.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Please let it read Emmi Leisner.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Thanks, Marcellus and clarerieu, for identifying the conductor as Georges Tzipine. I didn’t name Schnabel or Fleisher because I’ve haven’t heard them. I did name Serkin and menat to add Richter/Leinsdorf but forgot. Horn vibrato to me is old-fashioned rather than idiomatic, as I said.