Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor Op.15
Johannes Brahms


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Brahms has 8 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, the same amount as Vaughan Williams. This is the third of them and it's been a mainstay of the Hall of Fame across the years but is at its lowest ever position in the most recent chart where it sits at number 298.

Although nowadays Brahms is often remembered for his full-blooded, large-scale works, at the time of writing his Piano Concerto No.1, he was a very different composer. Brahms' comfort zone was music for solo piano. This particular work was his very first creation for the instrument on a more epic scale.

Brahms no doubt feared accusations of an inability to transfer his chamber-music success into this altogether grander form. Sadly for Brahms, his worst fears were realised. The piece was dismissed by those in the know and, in its day, it was never held in such high esteem as other Romantic piano warhorses of the period. Now, however, it's a very different story: this is one of the best-loved and most frequently performed piano concertos in the world.

Marguerite Gachet at the Piano by Vincent van Gogh (1890).